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Though most of us try to remain optimistic about aging, it's natural to be saddened by the passage of time. Sometimes it feels like life only goes downhill after middle age. This, however, simply isn't true! In many ways, life only gets better after 50. From better relationships to deeper sleep, here are some of the life experiences that, like fine wine, only improve with age.
1.) You're Sleeping Better
Most of us have probably adopted the commonly-held belief that sleep quality declines with age. Some sleep disturbances, like snoring and back pain, seem to crop up more frequently over time. One study, however, has discredited these assumptions. In a survey of over 150,000 adults, researchers discovered that adults over 80 are actually sleeping better than the rest of us! These older adults reported fewer incidences of sleep disturbance and experienced less daytime sleepiness compared to younger adults.
Researchers aren't entirely sure why older seniors are sleeping so well. Lower stress levels and less frequent exposure to tech devices are two possibilities. Regardless, we can all look forward to better sleep in the later years of our life!
2.) You're Genuinely Happier
Happiness is a fickle thing. Many young adults feel overwhelmed by stress, depression, and other negative emotions. Though these feelings often fade with time, most of us find ourselves at our lowest in our forties and fifties. Are things destined to get even worse as we enter our retirement years?
No! In fact, things finally start improving. By the time we hit 60, many of us are actually as happy as we were in our late teens. Once we've reached 70, the average senior actually experiences the highest levels of satisfaction they've ever felt in their lives. Though happiness declines slightly after 80, it actually picks up again once we hit 90.
Why is this? Researchers posit that seniors ultimately achieve the emotional stability we all seek. Free from the chaotic ups and downs of our youth, seniors can finally settle into a life of serenity and bliss.
3.) Your Relationships Improve
As young adults, we often have fairly tumultuous relationships. Romantic relationships may be fiery and short-lived. We may argue with our parents and fight with our best friends. Fortunately, we can look forward to these interpersonal relationships improving with age.
Relationships of all varieties appear to get better at 50 and beyond. Older adults tend to have better and more emotionally intimate connections with their friends. Sibling rivalries and disagreements with adult children begin to decline as well. Best of all, marriages and romantic relationships become less dramatic and more fulfilling.
Studies suggest that our relationships improve as a result of shifting priorities. As we age, we begin to appreciate the connections we have. Instead of fighting and holding grudges, we may be more willing to compromise for the sake of keeping the peace. As a result, our relationships thrive.
4.) You Don't Get Sick as Often
Our golden years inevitably bring a number of challenges with them. Many of us suffer from aches and pains, for instance. There is, however, at least one way in which seniors are healthier than their younger counterparts. In general, seniors catch fewer colds than adults in their twenties and thirties.
Whereas younger adults catch an average of three colds per year, those over 50 catch only one or two. Seniors also tend to experience fewer allergy symptoms and headaches. Scientists believe that this is the result of our immunity improving over time. By the time we hit 50 or 60, we're immune to many of the bugs that plague the young. Being "over the hill" has finally paid off!
5.) Your Sex Life Gets Even Better
Contrary to popular thought, the average senior's sex life doesn't grind to a halt after 60 or 70. In fact, studies have shown that sex becomes much better as we age! Nearly three-quarters of men and women over 60 claim their sex lives are better than they were in their forties.
Sex doesn't just peak at 60, though. One survey found that over 50% of women in their eighties experienced highly-satisfying orgasms nearly all of the time. With age, many seniors become less anxious and inhibited in the bedroom. Being open and communicative often leads to better and more passionate sex, regardless of the challenges posed by aging.
These aren't the only ways in which life improves after 50! Other studies have revealed that seniors have declining stress levels and are much better gamblers than their younger counterparts. The next time you start feeling pessimistic about the aging process, remember that, in many ways, your life is getting better by the day.
Photo: (c) Darren Baker / fotolia.com