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New research shows you’re not alone if you have a hard time sleeping as you age


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Photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma

When you were younger, you might have slept like a baby without even trying. But if getting a good night’s sleep now feels like a goal that only gets loftier with every passing year, you’re not alone: It turns out age might play a bigger role in catching quality zzz’s than once thought.

In a new study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, researchers found that age might significantly weaken the circadian clock’s ability to reset itself once it’s exposed to light (i.e., you might only be able to “sleep in” if the sun decides not to rise). Since the circadian clock is what keeps your sleep cycles in check and regulates your feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness, getting older could result in a major disruption to your sleep cycles, which could impact your overall well-being.

Researchers found age significantly weakens the circadian clock’s ability to reset itself once it’s exposed to light.

So, what does this mean for you? Unfortunately, there’s still more research that needs to be done on the topic to get more clarity, as this study tested young and aged mice, not humans. But it is a huge eye-opener for researchers, as according to a press release, the findings could “help target treatments that aim to improve both physiological and behavioral circadian clock re-setting in older people.”

Until there’s more intel on how to get the dreamiest sleep ever, each night, use the tools currently available to clock the best snooze you can: Sleep in in complete darkness, ditch your technology, find the perfect room temperature, and do something super-calming before you hit the sheets. Shut-eye contributes to important aspects of you life, like mood and metabolism, so even if it takes some extra prep work to get it right, it’s worth it.

Do “night shift” modes on electronics really help you sleep better? Also, here’s how your fitness tracker could be causing a new sleep disorder.

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