Skip to main content

New Study Helps Explain Why Seniors Sleep Less

min read

By ActiveBeat Author

Previous studies have shown that older people tend to sleep less than their younger counterparts. Now, a new study reveals why seniors get less shut-eye.

According to researchers at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center based at the University of Toronto, the average person in their seventies gets roughly one hour less sleep each night than someone in their twenties.

To discover why that’s the case, the researchers examined 1,000 elderly people over more than a decade-and-a-half. Those seniors participating in the study were monitored until they passed away, with many agreeing to wear special wristbands that tracked their physical activity. Some of the men and women participating in the study even agreed to allow researchers study their brains following their deaths.

The finding: many seniors, and especially those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, experience a loss of ventrolateral preoptic neurons. These neurons are responsible for maintaining regular sleep patterns. When these neurons are lost, sleep becomes irregular.

In the end, that means elderly people don’t get the sleep they need. “They’re not feeling rested — they’re getting up because they can’t sleep anymore, but they’re still tired during the day,” noted Dr. Clifford Saper, Beth Israel Deaconess’ chairman of neurology. “It’s sort of a chronic insomnia state.”

But the study is providing many physicians with hope. It’s believed the findings, which have now been published in the journal Brain, could help researchers develop medication capable of controlling neuron activity without negatively affecting bodily functions, like balance.

ActiveBeat Author


Activebeat is dedicated to bringing readers all of the important news and information in the world of health. From recalls and outbreaks to fitness, nutrition and studies, we cover every aspect of health news, every day.

Trending Health News


Hard-Boiled Eggs Linked To Listeria Outbreak
By Katherine George Trending Health News

Hard-Boiled Eggs Linked To Listeria Outbreak

Hard boiled eggs may be the cause of a listeria outbreak in five different states. At the time of this post, seven people have fallen ill, four have been hospitalized, and there has been one death. The affected states are Florida, Texas, Maine, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. On Dec. 18, a food safety alert was […]

Read More about Hard-Boiled Eggs Linked To Listeria Outbreak

2 min read

Blackberry-Related Hepatitis A Outbreak in Six States
By Katherine George Trending Health News

Blackberry-Related Hepatitis A Outbreak in Six States

The most recent food recall is linked to store-bought blackberries which may have caused a hepatitis A outbreak in several states. Last month the CDC announced the initial recall of blackberries purchased at Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets during September 2019 as a result of a possible contamination. According to the CDC report, by December 2, […]

Read More about Blackberry-Related Hepatitis A Outbreak in Six States

2 min read