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Ageless Aging August 2017
August 16, 2017

I have not sent a newsletter for a few months. Apologies. I have been spent all of my time reading new research studies and updating information on the web site. There are so many new studies! Suddenly life after age 50 has become a central interest to researchers.

Perchance to sleep....

This month I want to talk about something that often becomes a problem for us as we age. For some it starts in their 50s or 60s but others do not experience it until their mid-80s. If it is not an issue for your now, you might want to file this newsletter so you can refer to it when it does become a problem. Because it DOES become a problem for almost every elder.

What am I talking about? Sleep - either an inabilty to get to sleep quickly (tossing and turning for hours) or getting to sleep but then waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning and having trouble getting back to sleep.

Why sleep issues as we age?

So why sleep issues as we age? No, it is not from 'being retired' or not working 8 hours a day. This sleep issue happens whether or not people have a job. Instead it is usually a result of a change in body chemistry. It comes because our body's produce less Melatonin as we age. . Melatonin? Yes, melatonin, sometimes called our 'sleep hormone' is produced by our pineal gland and normally our levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening. They remain high for most of the night and then begin to drop in the early morning. . What researchers now know is that it is common for us to produce LESS of melatonin as we age. In fact some elders produce very little or even no melatonin at all! (There are also medical conditions that can reduce the amount of melatonin we make. Alzheimer's is one of them. (Why persons with Alzheimer's often wake up in the middle of the night and can not get back to sleep easily.) But the good news is that melatonin can be taken in supplement form. It usually comes in 3mg, 5mg or 8mg capsules that are taken before bedtime. .

But you do want to speak with your health care provider beofre adding melatonin to your pre-bedtime routine. This is a hormone!


The right dose for adults varies widely. Some find good effect with just 0.2 mg but others may need as much as 20.0 mg. The does is based on the reason for its use. Since the right dose can vary from one person to another, you really should consult your health care provider.

But if you are finding that sleep issues have increased with age, low melatonin could be the cause and a supplement taken before bed might be your solution. . For me, I did not want to take any sort of prescription sleeping pill and with a melatonin supplement before bed, I do not need any. I can now go to bed at 10 and sleep through 'til morning. Nice.

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