Getting a good night’s sleep seems to be increasingly difficult for many Americans. Seniors are no exception. In fact, older adults are often especially poor sleepers. From sleep apnea to plain old insomnia, a full night of quality rest is out of reach for many. And the consequences can be serious.
Lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of medical conditions, including stroke, diabetes, heart attack and high blood pressure.
But researchers think vitamins might offer hope. In a study at the University of Pennsylvania scientists examined the role good nutrition may have in promoting a full night of quality sleep.
Can a Nutrient Rich Diet and Supplements Help You Sleep Better?
Researchers at The Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania evaluated a variety of factors they felt might influence sleep. Among them was a healthy, well-balanced diet.
“Dietary Nutrients Associated with Short and Long Sleep Duration” was published in the journal, Appetite. The study revealed some of the ways diet and sleep may be connected:
- Leptin: Leptin is a hormone believed to be responsible for sending your brain the “full” signal. If you don’t get the amount of sleep your body requires, the level of Leptin in the body falls. This may be one of the reasons people who suffer from insomnia are often overweight. And weight can be a factor in how well you sleep.
- Lauric Acid: Researchers believe Lauric acid helps promote healthy cholesterol levels in the body and a healthy cardiovascular sytem. Lauric acid is found in foods such as grass fed cheese, coconut oil, milk and goat’s milk. Seniors with a healthy cardiovascular system tend to sleep better than their peers with high cholesterol and cardiac disease.
- Lycopene and Vitamin C: The study also uncovered a potentially interesting link between Lycopene and vitamin C. It appears that people who consumed the lowest levels of both also had the shortest sleep durations. Increasing your intake of both might help you sleep longer.
- Sleeping Too Much: Equally as dangerous as too few hours of sleep? Too much sleep. People who sleep too much are at risk for health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Researchers believe it is because they are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle that includes a poor diet.
The bottom line?
Sleep is an important part of aging well. If you or a senior you love are having sleep problems, talk with a primary care physician. They can help determine if a factor such as a poor diet or vitamin deficiency is the cause. Or they may refer you to a sleep specialist for further evaluation.
Healthy Menus at Randall Residence
A healthy diet is much easier when meals are prepared for you! Residents at Randall Residence communities enjoy well-balanced, meals prepared to look and taste great.
Don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself!
We invite you to call us to schedule a personal tour and lunch at the community nearest you.