Social interaction and physical activity may be the keys for better sleep and improved cognition among seniors. In a study, reported in Sleep (December 15, 2004), researchers from Northwestern University examined 12 healthy older men and women between 67 and 86 years of age. The results of the study showed that 14 weeks of a daily 90- minute social and physical activity program improved cognitive performance by 4% to 6%, and also helped sleep quality.
The program followed by the participants involved 30 minutes of stretching, walking, and stationary upper and lower body exercises, followed by 30 minutes of social interaction. The last 30 minutes included mild-to-moderate physical activity. The program concluded with a 10-minute cool down.