Myth busted: Sleep quality improves as you grow older

The belief that sleep quality declines in old age may be false, as a new study has found that it gets better with age.

In a telephonic survey of over 150,000 adults, a team at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Sleep & Circadian Neurobiology found that apart from a blip in their 40s, sleep quality of people improved with age.

And those in their 80s reported the best sleep, according to the study published in the journal Sleep.

Michael Grandner, who led the study, said the original reason for setting up the research was to confirm the precise opposite - that sleep quality declined in old age.

"These results force us to re-think what we know about sleep in older people," Grandner was quoted as saying by the BBC News.

He suggested that it was possible that older people were sleeping worse, but simply felt better about it. "Even if sleep among older Americans is actually worse than in younger adults, feelings about it still improve with age," he said. Universities have equipment to measure sleep duration and disturbance but this doesn't always match the volunteer's opinion on their sleep.

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