Oh sleep, Oh gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse How have I frighted thee?
That though no more will weigh mine eyelids down
And sleep my senses in forgetfulness?
Henry IV, William Shakespeare
Getting enough sleep can be challenging. But why is sleep so important to our health and what does it have to do with aging?
Insomnia can be defined as a chronic dissatisfaction with the quantity or quality of sleep involving difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakening with difficulty falling back to sleep, and/or undesired early morning awakening (Levenson, Kay, & Buysse, 2015). Daytime symptoms include fatigue, sleepiness, impaired cognitive performance, and mood disturbances such as anxiety and depression. Insomnia can also lead to high blood pressure and related cardiovascular disease (Fernandez & Vgontzas, 2013), stroke, weight gain and skin aging (Ganceviciene, Liakou, Theodoridis, Makrantonaki, & Zouboulis, 2012).
Risk factors for insomnia include older age, female gender, caucasian ethnicity, perimenopausal state, sleep apnea, anxiety, depression, alcohol, smoking, caffeinated food or beverages, certain medications (stimulants) and poor sleep hygiene (Monjan, 2010).
After addressing potential health issues interfering with sleep, it is important to address and improve sleep hygiene to get your beauty sleep. For more information on improving sleep hygiene you can follow this link: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Learning/Modules/Sleep-Strategies/Documents/sleep-hygiene-strategies.pdf
Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4(3), 308–319. http://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22804
Fernandez-Mendoza, J., & Vgontzas, A. N. (2013). Insomnia and Its Impact on Physical and Mental Health. Current Psychiatry Reports, 15(12), 418. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-013-0418-8
Levenson, J. C., Kay, D. B., & Buysse, D. J. (2015). The Pathophysiology of Insomnia. Chest, 147(4), 1179–1192. http://doi.org/10.1378/chest.14-1617
Monjan, A. A. (2010). Perspective on Sleep and Aging. Frontiers in Neurology, 1, 124. http://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2010.00124