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Waking Up Exhausted…the Curse of the Middle Aged

male-insomniaA remarkable 94 per cent of Australians wake up exhausted in the morning, according to new research from the Central Queensland University, who polled over 13,000 people for the Sealy Sleep Census.

Sleep deprivation is a huge factor at work as well, where a whopping 38 per cent of people surveyed admitted to falling asleep at their desk or during a meeting.

A further one third of respondents admitted to pulling a ‘sick-day’ from work because they were simply too tired.

As we grow older sleep becomes lighter and more interrupted, as the modern day pressures of mid-life, including parenting, financial, employment and relationship pressures, impact on our ability to have a good nights sleep.

But its not all about money problems and relationship issues, at least not for men.

Middle aged men unfortunately seem to also suffer sleep deprivation due their biological clock.

Researchers in Canada have discovered a possible link between decreased testosterone levels and reduced deep sleep in men.

When men reach the age of 30, their testosterone levels drop by one to two per cent every year. By the age of 40, men’s quality of sleep also begins to diminish.

Zoran Sekerovic, a graduate student from the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychology, has discovered a link between testosterone levels in men and their quality of sleep.

In young men, “deep sleep” represents 10 to 20 per cent of total sleep. By age 50, it decreases to five to seven per cent. For men over 60, it can disappear altogether.

According to a Dutch study however, women may get off lightly in this department, even if they don’t fess up to it.

According to study co-author, Professor Horne, women often underestimate the amount of sleep they get.

‘Women will tell you they get only five hours’ sleep a night,’ says Horne. ‘Yet if you question them further, they tell you they have an hour’s nap in the afternoon, which puts them up to six hours.

As we all know too well, infants spend most of the day asleep, where teenagers and other full-time students reported in the Sealy Sleep Census to feeling the need for the most sleep amongst adults and adolescents.

However there may be some good news to look forward to, if you are a middle-aged, sleep deprived, fully-employed parent.

According to Sleep Disorders Australia, 80 per cent of the elderly claim that they sleep well and wake up refreshed, although the catch is that the elderly tend to have an afternoon nap up to an hour or more every day.

In fact, Winston Churchill, who was well known for sleeping only four hours a night, used to also have a two-hour daytime nap every day.

Of the respondents in the Sealy Sleep Census, 70 per cent claimed to have been woken during the night, while a further 16 per cent claimed that they needed help to fall asleep and had used supplements or prescribed medications.

These findings however could serve as a warning to many males, according to a study by Alexandros N. Vgontzas, director of Penn State University’s Sleep Research & Treatment Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Vgontzas studied 741 randomly selected participants between the ages 20 to 100, and his study findings suggest that chronic male insomniacs are up to six times more likely to die early—even after taking into account risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and sleep apnea.

However its not all doom and gloom. According to Sleep Disorders Australia, there are measures we can take to increase the quality of our nightly sleep, and it doesn’t involve sleeping pills.

• Darken the bedroom

• Establish a regular exercise program

• Avoid tea, coffee and caffeine drinks from midday onwards

• Avoid a heavy meal or spicy food late at night.

• Don’t sleep with pets or children. Its not good for them and it disturbs your sleep

• and try to spend some time outside in the sunlight early in the day as this helps to keep you body clock on time.

Read more from the factsheet from Sleep Disorders Australia on how to get a good nights sleep.

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Posted by on October 20, 2012. Filed under Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Responses to Waking Up Exhausted…the Curse of the Middle Aged

  1. Roberticus Reply

    October 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    I have been having the same problem ever since I turned 46.

    In fact 46 seemed to be the age where my body changed from youngish to oldish, almost overnight.

    One of my teeth broke, I started to wear eye glasses (never needed glasses before), my sex drive started to plummet, and I started being almost constantly sleepy, tired and with general pain all over.

    I put it all down to mid-life crisis, but 18 months later and I am still the same.

  2. Leon Reply

    October 21, 2012 at 1:55 am

    I have tried all the so called remedies with no luck. In my 20s I could sleep for 15 straight and still sleep at bedtime the following day .

    These days no matter what O do I wake up before sunrise, and despite being exhausted I simply cannot sleep anymore.

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