The study involved 96 adults in two retirement communities in Israel. Their apartments were fully equipped as independent units. They had an average age of about 75 years.
Eighty-two percent lived alone, and 75 percent reported fair or good health. Sleep medication was used three times or more per week by 23 percent of participants.
Results show that older adults slept better when they had more stability in daily routines. They fell asleep faster and had improved sleep quality.
“We were surprised that our findings were so robust,” said lead author Anna Zisberg.
Examples of these daily routines include bathing, dressing and eating. The authors reported that stability in routines involves the timing, frequency and duration of the activities.
Mean self-reported total sleep time was six hours. On average it took participants 37.5 minutes to fall asleep. Worse sleep quality was associated with less lifestyle regularity.
The authors noted that the natural process of aging often affects sleep quality. They concluded that routine lifestyle rhythms may help adults maintain high-quality sleep as they get older.
Earlier this year a study suggested that healthy older adults without sleep disorders may have a reduced "sleep need." But many older adults have insomnia due to a medical condition. And they may have insomnia as a side effect of a medication.
Read more about sleep and aging. Get help for an ongoing sleep problem at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.
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