Poor sleep for people over age 50 is linked to negative perceptions of aging. All all of that negativity can impact your physical, mental and cognitive health. That's according to research from the University of Exeter in the UK.

Their study shows people who rated their sleep the worst felt older and perceived their physical and mental aging more negatively.

“As we age, we all experience both positive and negative changes in many areas of our lives, says Dr. Serena Sabatini, a psychologist and lead author of the study. "But some people perceive more negative changes than others do."

She says that since pessimism can be detrimental to your future physical, mental, and cognitive health, understanding what makes people negative is important. And that, maybe, negative outlooks influence both sleep and what you think about aging. Or, perhaps addressing sleep difficulties would promote a better perception of ageing, which could have other health benefits.

For the study, researchers surveyed 4,482 people aged 50 and over who were already signed up for a large UK project that explores aging and the brain. The researchers noticed that some people commented about how they feel younger when they sleep better, and older when they don't. So they developed a questionnaire about sleep for their own study.

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The researchers say their study about sleep and how it relates to people's perception of aging adds to the growing body of evidence about the crucial role sleep plays in our lives and as we age.

The research was published in the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

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