Poor Sleep Linked to Feeling Older and Worse Outlook on Ageing

Poor sleep in the over 50s is linked to more negative perceptions of ageing, which in turn can impact physical, mental and cognitive health, new research has revealed.

A study led by the University of Exeter and found that people who rated their sleep the worst also felt older, and perceived their own physical and mental ageing more negatively.

Lead author Serena Sabatini, of the University of Exeter, said: “As we age, we all experience both positive and negative changes in many areas of our lives. However, some people perceive more negative changes than others. As we know that having a negative perception of ageing can be detrimental to future physical health, mental health, and cognitive health, an open question in ageing research is to understand what makes people more negative about ageing. Our research suggests that poor sleepers feel older, and have a more negative perception of their ageing. We need to study this further – one explanation could be that a more negative outlook influences both. However, it could be a sign that addressing sleep difficulties could promote a better perception of ageing, which could have other health benefits.”

Researchers surveyed 4,482 people aged 50 and over who are part of the PROTECT study. Run by the University of Exeter and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, PROTECT is an innovative online study in which participants take regular cognitive tests and complete lifestyle questionnaires. The study aims to understand what helps people stay cognitively healthy in later life.

The research team noticed that many PROTECT participants were commenting on their relationship with sleep as part of standard questionnaires within the study. Comments included: “How I feel fluctuates widely depending on my sleep. I feel great if I get six hours so about half the time I feel younger and half the time I feel older!”

Another comment read: “I have chronic pain problems and get very little sleep which impacts on my life quite a lot.”

As a result of such comments, the team decided to conduct a questionnaire looking specifically at sleep. In the research, published in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, participants were asked whether they had experienced a list of negative age-related changes, such as poorer memory, less energy, increased dependence on the help of others, decreased motivation, and having to limit their activities. They also rated their quality of sleep. The participants completed both questionnaires twice, one year apart.

Professor Clive Ballard, of the University of Exeter, said: “This research is an important part of the growing body of evidence about the crucial role of sleep in healthy ageing. We now need more people to sign up to PROTECT, to help us understand this further. We’ve got some exciting trials ahead on how to optimise sleep in some particularly vulnerable groups, such as people with dementia in care homes.”

The paper is published in Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

Source: University of Exeter


In Pictures: Dishes of Central in Lima, Peru

Contemporary Peruvian Cuisine

No.4 of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants 2021

Housework Might Boost Seniors’ Body & Mind

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . . . .

Seniors, looking for a way to stay mentally quick and physically strong? Start scrubbing.

Researchers from Singapore say housework may be a key to keeping your brain sharp as you age.

Their new study found that in older adults, cleaning house was tied to a better memory and attention span, and stronger legs, which helps prevent falls.

“Health promotion messaging on staying active should not just be about recreational or non-occupation physical activities,” said study co-author Shiou-Liang Wee, an associate professor of health and social sciences at the Singapore Institute of Technology.

“Housework is a purposeful activity performed by many older adults” and represents a significant share of their self-reported moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, he said. As such, it’s a key complement to recreational physical activity.

The researchers noted that their study doesn’t prove housework causes sharper thinking or better balance, only that there appears to be a link.

For the study, Wee’s team looked at nearly 500 healthy Singaporeans between 21 and 90 years of age.

The investigators used walking and the ability to get up from a chair as an indication of physical ability, and tests of short and delayed memory, language, attention span and visuospatial ability to gauge mental ability. (Visuospatial ability is a key to depth perception and moving around without bumping into objects.)

Participants were also asked about the household chores they did and other types of physical activity.

For Wee’s group, light housework included washing dishes, dusting, making the bed, hanging out the wash, ironing, tidying up and cooking. Heavy housework included window cleaning, changing the bed, vacuuming, mopping and chores involving sawing, painting and repairing.

Among younger participants, 36% said they engaged in enough physical activity to meet the goal researchers set as beneficial, as did 48% of older participants.

But 61% of younger and 66% of older participants met this target exclusively through housework, the study revealed.

After accounting for other types of regular physical activity, the researchers found that housework was tied with sharper mental abilities and better physical capacity — but only among the older participants.

Scores on tests of mental ability were as much as 8% higher among those who did lots of housework, compared with those who did little, Lee’s team found. Housework was also tied with higher attention scores.

And among older participants, balance and the time it took to stand up from sitting were better for those who did lots of housework than for those who didn’t.

Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatric and palliative medicine at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y., noted that exercise benefits your brain, and housework is exercise that also involves mental activity.

“Exercise is extremely important for aging for both physical and cognitive function,” she said. “We know this from past studies, but we don’t necessarily appreciate how much housework is a physical activity that takes planning logistics to implement. Exercise and planning are incredibly important for both physical and cognitive health.”

Torroella Carney said physical activity increases blood circulation to your muscles and your brain, which helps mental function.

Housework can be an important part of your exercise routine, she said.

“Housework is physical but also requires detailed thought processes to complete,” Torroella Carney said. “It’s a task you’ve got to plan for. You’ve got to use devices, you’ve got to use equipment. There’s planning involved, so there’s cognitive exercise along with physical exercise.”

Her advice: Get moving.

“It’s never too late to start exercising, we know that from other studies, not just this one — it’s never too late,” Torroella Carney said.

The findings were published online in the journal BMJ Open.

Source: HealthDay

Burst Crab


8 large crabs, about 300 g each, cleaned
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons yellow chili paste
1/4 cup chicha de jora or white wine
1/4 cup fish broth (stock)
2 sprigs cilantro (coriander)
4 eggs, beaten
1 scallion (spring onion), chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, to garnish
salt and pepper


  1. Pound the crabs with a meat tenderizer until the shells are crushed but not completely destroyed.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic, and sauté over low heat for 30 seconds until cooked.
  3. Add the chili paste and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Add the chicha de jora or white wine, fish broth (stock), crabs, and cilantro (coriander) sprigs, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for 12 minutes until the crabs are cooked.
  5. Remove the crabs from the pan and scoop out the meat from the shells using a fork. Set the shells aside.
  6. Stir the beaten eggs into the pan along with the chopped scallion (spring onion).
  7. Return the crab meat to the pan and mix together well.
  8. Put the crab shells in large shallow bowls and add the crab and egg mixture and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Peru – The Cookbook

Today’s Comic

Study: Meatless Diets Produce 59% Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Emily Baker wrote . . . . . . . . .

Diets rich in plants and low in red meat and sweet snacks produce less greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), a new study into the effects of diet on the climate crisis has concurred.

Meat accounts for more than a quarter of diet-related emissions, the paper reads. Additionally, dairy made up 14 percent, with cakes and biscuits amounting to eight percent.

Plant-based diets triumphant

Upon comparing diets, researchers found that those who ate meat produced almost two-thirds more emissions than vegetarians.

The study is titled Variations in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of individual diets: Associations between the GHG and nutrient intake in the UK and available on Plos One.

And within it, authors urge for more stringent policies championing plant-based diets.

“Healthier diets had lower GHG emissions, demonstrating consistency between planetary and personal health,” it reads.

Diet and emissions

It’s not just emissions that diet affects. As the researchers outline here, our food choices contribute to air and water quality, soil health, biodiversity, all encapsulated within climate breakdown.

According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5 percent of GHGs.

Other sources claim this number is far higher – at even 87 percent, as many argue figures don’t include the effect of land clearing for farming.

Source: Plant Based News