Elderly putting their health at risk with lack of sleep
One in seven older people is not getting enough sleep - leaving them at risk of a range of health problems.
They include cardiovascular and chronic disease, as well as impairments in mental health.
The findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing found a slightly larger group are sleeping for too long. The recommendation is that adults aged 26-74 sleep for seven to eight hours each night.
The study showed adults 50 years and older were sleeping for an average of seven hours 42 minutes a night.
Retired and unemployed adults and anti-depressant medication users record longer sleep periods.
Poor health is more likely to be associated with shorter sleep compared with good health.
Those who were active tended to have normal sleep.
Principal investigator Professor Rose Anne Kenny said a number of habits, if changed, can improve sleep quality and duration.
"Awareness of medications which change sleep quality and duration and change in 'habits before bed' can help to regulate sleep duration and overall benefit physical and brain health," she said.