In late July 2016, the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) met in Toronto, Canada, hosting global leaders in the field of sleep medicine from four continents and a variety of disciplines. These included gerontology, sleep medicine, circadian disorders, neuroscience, psychology and otolaryngology. The experts provided advice to:
- help people maintain healthy sleep as they age
- help people who have trouble falling and staying asleep
- help those who may have possible sleep disorders
- help people with dementia who have trouble sleeping and their caregivers
- help health care providers aid others to improve their sleep
The GCBH urges older adults to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep, but we know many adults do not get the recommended amount. AARP research has found that better sleep is correlated with people having higher perceptions of their well-being and brain health. Unfortunately, 23 percent of survey respondents rated their sleep quality as fair or poor. The GCBH experts made clear that while it is normal for sleep to change as we age, having poor quality sleep is not normal. Many common sleep disorders that occur as we age can be treated. The experts emphasized that people at any age can take steps to improve their sleep.
These are the GCBH’s recommendations on sleep and brain health for people as they age.
To find out more about how sleep affects your brain health, see this article by Candy Sagon.