The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), which is convened by AARP, has released the consensus document, The Brain-Sleep Connection: GCBH Recommendations on Sleep and Brain Health. AASM members who contributed sleep expertise for the report’s development were Sonia Ancoli-Israel, PhD; Donald Bliwise, PhD; Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD; and Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD.
The report includes numerous recommendations based on seven consensus statements:
1. Sleep is essential to overall mental and physical health and well-being.
a. Sleep is vital to brain health, including cognitive function.
b. Sleeping on average for seven to eight hours each day is related to better brain and physical health in older people.
2. The sleep-wake cycle is influenced by many different factors. The ability to sleep depends both on how long one has been awake and on the internal clock in the brain.
a. A regular sleep-wake schedule is related to better sleep and better brain health.
b. Regular daily exposure to light and physical activity supports good sleep.
3. There are changes to sleep as people age:
a. Sleep becomes less deep, and there are more awakenings.
b. Sleep becomes more vulnerable to disturbances.
4. People, at any age, can change their behavior to improve their sleep.
5. Persistent, excessive daytime sleepiness is not a normal part of aging.
6. Sleep disorders become more common with age, but they can often be successfully treated.
7. People with chronic inadequate sleep are at higher risk for and experience more severe conditions of dementia, depression, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, fall-related injuries, and cancer.