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Research Suggests that Brazilians Are Sleeping Poorly and that Quality Deteriorates with Age

03/12/2018 - 10h28

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ANA ESTELA DE SOUSA PINTO
FROM SAO PAULO

A considerable share of Brazilians who are 60 and older dream of getting a good night's rest: or at least that's what a survey conducted by the Datafolha institute says.

"Behind the deterioration is the increasing number of activities and stimuli as well as the fact that life becomes more and more complex," says sleep specialist Dalva Poyares, a professor at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp).

Ms. Poyares said that the phenomenon has been persistently detected in all age groups since 1987. "There is an increasing supply of services, more bills to pay, more stimuli and communication: more life 24 hours a day."

According to the professor of Psychobiology at Unifesp, who is also a researcher at the Helena Hachul Sleep Institute, among the factors that explain this deterioration are: the socio-economic crisis, rising unemployment and the fear of getting mugged.

Biological and behavioral factors that come with aging are also at the root of the problem. Certain bodily functions, such as respiration, begin to worsen, thus disrupting sleep, said Dr. John Araujo, a Chronobiology professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN).

The Datafolha survey also revealed a correlation between social status and the quality of sleep. Those who have earned a college degree and are wealthier tend to get better rest - a feat that can be observed both in the population as a whole and among the elderly.

Another important factor is a person's commute. "Those who earn lower incomes have to wake up earlier, thus reducing the amount of sleep [they get]."

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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