Why can’t I stay up late when I’m too old? It turned out to be related to melatonin!

As we get older, many people find themselves unable to stay up late, why is this happening? October 10 is World Mental Health Day. In an interview with Nanfang Daily and Nanfang + Client, Zhang Jihui, director of the Sleep and Rhythm Medicine Center of the Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University, said that young people are used to going to bed late and getting up late, while the elderly tend to go to bed early and get up early. There is a scientific basis behind it. . 15-24 year olds generally sleep 1.5-2 hours later than other age groups, because the activation time of melatonin in the body is about 2 hours later than normal people, So they are more able to stay up late. With age, melatonin in the body will start to work earlier, and people will naturally feel sleepy earlier.

Alzheimer’s disease onset

No rejuvenation trend

By the end of 2021, the number of elderly people aged 60 and over in China will reach 267 million, accounting for 18.9% of the total population. Survey results show that 5 out of 100 65-year-olds have Alzheimer’s disease, and the prevalence is likely to increase further as life expectancy increases.

“Alzheimer’s disease does not show a younger trend.” According to Ning Yuping, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University, there are indeed some young people who will Alzheimer’s disease diagnosed before the age of 60 is usually referred to as Alzheimer’s disease, which is relatively rare in clinical practice, and most of them are familial genetic diseases. “When there is memory loss, such as forgetting what you just said, or asking the same question repeatedly, becoming apathetic, and not very fond of talking, you should go to a medical institution for screening.”

Ning Yuping, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University.

Alzheimer’s is not just a medical problem, it’s a social problem. Ning Yuping said that Alzheimer’s patients not only affect the patient’s psychological state, but also have a greater impact on the entire family. Caring for patients will cause caregivers to suffer from insomnia, depression and anxiety. Therefore, Ning Yuping calls on the society to pay more attention to the mental health of Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Eighty percent of people with depression

with symptoms of insomnia

Lack of sleep has increasingly become one of the worries of modern people. Zhang Jihui said that in the past, people generally believed that insomnia was a symptom, but now it is believed that insomnia is not only a symptom of a certain disease, but a “common disease”. Recent studies have found that more than 80% of depressed patients suffer from insomnia at the same time. “If the problem of insomnia in patients with depression is not targeted, the treatment of depression will be more troublesome and more likely to relapse,” he said.

Poor quality sleep can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. According to Zhang Jihui, studies have shown that when sleeping less than 6 hours a day, the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and myocardial infarction will increase by 50%.

3-4 hours before taking melatonin

Insomnia is not only caused by psychosomatic diseases, some people may be due to sleep rhythm disorders.

Sleep rhythm disorder, simply understood as the patient’s work and rest time does not match the normal social work and rest time, For example, some Alzheimer’s patients have their day and night reversed, and at night When it’s time to sleep, it’s hard to fall asleep when awake, even in high spirits, and drowsy during the day.

Zhang Jihui explained that if an ordinary person falls asleep at 12:00 pm, the melatonin in the body will start 3-4 hours in advance, but for some people with sleep rhythm problems, their melatonin The startup time is not consistent with normal people.

How to adjust the sleep rhythm of the human body? Zhang Jihui introduced, On the one hand, if the patient needs to take melatonin, it should be taken 3-4 hours before going to bed, one-third or one-fourth of the tablet; Receive half an hour of bright light exposure.

Insomnia don’t make up for sleep

Sleep ‘moderation’ too

There is a simple and effective way to treat insomnia—sleep restriction. Zhang Jihui explained, Simply put, don’t make up for sleep after insomnia. This is because people with chronic insomnia sleep late at night and wake up late during the day, which will lead to sleep during the day and no sleep at night, which will eventually exacerbate insomnia. At the same time, Zhang Jihui also suggested that workers should control their sleep time to 1-2 hours on weekends. “Once it exceeds 2 hours, it will affect people’s sleep rhythm.”

Zhang Jihui, Director of Sleep and Rhythm Center, Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University.

How to improve human sleep? Zhang Jihui suggested, The first is to set up a regular sleep schedule; the second is not to do things in bed that are not related to sleep, such as brushing your phone, watching TV and reading; The third is to create comfort Bedroom environment, such as suitable temperature and humidity, can dim the bedroom lights two or three hours before going to bed; The fourth is that the nap time should not exceed 20 minutes, and do not nap after 3 pm; fifth Avoid coffee and strong tea after 3pm.

Parents need to understand their children’s difficulties

Online classes are becoming more common these days. Zhou Liang, director of the Community Psychiatry Department of the Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University, said that some students are under greater academic pressure and are prone to emotional problems. He suggested that parents should work hard to understand their children, lower their expectations for their children, and ensure their children’s normal routine and regular diet and exercise.

“Children are reluctant to communicate with adults, because when they talk to their parents, they are often denied.” Zhou Liang said that things may seem small to adults, but It can be a great pain for a child. A child’s willingness to communicate is reduced if adults are used to giving negative opinions. “The real solution is to accept and understand the child’s difficulties and achieve real communication.”

In addition, Zhou Liang suggested that parents, as the backbone of the family, should separate work pressure from family relationships, and do not let work pressure affect themselves emotions, and ultimately destroy the parent-child relationship.


All 176 streets in Guangzhou are equipped with community psychiatrists

In order to fill the shortage of psychiatrists, the state introduced relevant policies in 2016. Chinese psychiatrists have increased from more than 20,000 at the time to nearly 50,000 this year. Almost doubled.

He Hongbo, Vice President of Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University.

He Hongbo, Vice President of the Brain Hospital Affiliated to Guangzhou Medical University, introduced that At present, 11 districts in Guangzhou have set up district-level mental health centers. Each district mental health center At least 4 full-time staff are deployed; At least 1 community psychiatrist is deployed in all 176 streets of the city. They will carry out health management and rehabilitation treatment for patients with severe mental disorders in community health centers, help community residents identify mental illnesses, and provide simple mental health services to the common people at home.

Guangzhou established the Guangzhou Psychological Crisis Research and Intervention Center in 2007, and established a psychological rescue team at the same time. At present, the Guangzhou psychological rescue team has more than 60 members. In public health emergencies, they play an important role, especially in epidemic prevention and control, where rescue teams undertake psychological screening and psychological assessments for quarantined personnel.

[Reporter] Huang Jinhui

【Intern】Wu Liting

【Photography】Xu Hao

[Correspondent] Song Yiqian

【Author】 Huang Jinhui; Xu Hao