Getting enough sleep is an essential aspect of healthy living. Sleep changes with age. People tend to get less sleep as they grow older. Sometimes seniors find themselves not getting as much sleep as they used to. Perhaps they wake up in the morning or after a long nap and feel tired.
On average, seniors need as much sleep as younger adults. This is about 7 to 9 hours in a night. However, seniors sometimes get a problem with sleep. It might be caused by increased napping during the day making it so hard to get enough sleep at night. They might also end up waking earlier in the morning, feeling sick or develop painful conditions.
Schedules change and sleep patterns modify too as people age. It explains why older folks are susceptible to sleep disorders. Insufficient sleep is a primary concern for seniors sleeping lightly or for shorter periods. So, there's a need for seniors to have a regular daily routine to ensure they get enough sleep.
Why seniors need more sleep?
Poor sleep leads to progression of various health problems and many other diseases in seniors. These issues include heart disease, memory loss, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and hypertension. The list is endless.
Inadequate sleep also raises the risk of falls in seniors. It's imperative for seniors to break this cycle through managing chronic health conditions as recommended by a doctor. These can make one lose sleep. Furthermore, seniors have to seek ways of solving sleep problems.
When diagnosed with conditions like sleep apnea or insomnia, there's a need for immediate solutions. Sleep medications, lifestyle changes, and improved sleep habits are some of the remedies which can promote better sleep.
Seniors need good sleep to curb inflammation linked to conditions like premature aging, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. According to research, people who sleep more than 6 hours have low inflammatory protein levels in their blood. The situation is a reverse for people who sleep less.
A study carried out in 2010 discovered that C-reactive protein associated with risk of heart attack is higher in people who get less than 6 hours of sleep. Treatment of sleep disorders is necessary for seniors with sleep apnea. It also improves inflammation and blood pressure.
Proper weight management
Poor sleep affects seniors' risk of weight gain in the long run. It explains why it's important that seniors sleep about 8 hours each night if they're to maintain a stable diet and healthy weight. Sleeping early is a good idea when planning to go on a diet.
Research at the University of Chicago discovered that seniors who get good sleep lost more fat than those who's sleep deprived. People on a diet feel hungrier with less sleep. The same hormone leptin, which goes into the blood when sleepy, is the same which drives appetite. With less sleep, the hormone level drops, which encourages cravings for high-calorie foods.
Good sleep is necessary to fight forgetfulness in seniors. According to research, during sleep, the brain processes and consolidates memories from the day. Seniors who don't get enough sleep risk losing those memories. The brain doesn't get enough time to store the memories correctly.
Furthermore, research suggests that good sleep reduces chances of developing false memories. Seniors who get less sleep are likely to be more forgetful. Sleep helps the brain to process new experiences and knowledge. It improves a person's understanding and retention.
Manages anxiety and depression
Insufficient sleep at night makes seniors agitated or moody the next day. Chronic deprivation of sleep leads to long-term mood disorders including anxiety and depression. Good sleep is beneficial for seniors in making a significant improvement in their quality of life. Furthermore, it also increases their length of life. Seniors have to put priority to getting sufficient and consistent sleep.
How much sleep do seniors need?
Chronic deprivation of sleep in seniors might lead to an array of health complications. These include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, plus early mortality. So, for seniors to live longer and healthier lives, getting enough sleep is a top priority.
Most research recommends seniors to sleep for 7 to 8 hours every night. It refutes some schools of thought which argue that people need less sleep as they age. However, too much of everything is not okay including sleep in seniors.
Research by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston discovered that too much or less sleep is not suitable for seniors. It might cause reduced cognitive function in older folks.
Strategies to promote better sleep in seniors
Sleep disruption makes seniors spend more time in bed or napping during the day. Talking to a doctor is beneficial in getting remedies for sleep disruptions. It's a good step towards improving the sleeping pattern and the overall quality of life within the senior living communities.
Sleep disruptions include:
- Illness including Alzheimer's and arthritis
- Physical pain
- Seniors can have better sleep with strategies including:
- Regular physical activity
- Elimination of visual and audible distractions in the bedroom
- Balanced diet
- Getting adequate sunlight
- Having a consistent sleep and wakeup schedule
- Controlled use of stimulants
- Soothing pre-bedtime routine
To manage sleep pattern for seniors takes time and a particular level of expertise. It explains why Landmark Senior Living centers help guide the process for seniors. Here special techniques coupled with extensive experience are applied to safe and healthy practices to help seniors deal with sleep problems.
Seniors who have good and regular daytime routines, an active lifestyle, plus quality care at a senior living center, live longer. With assisted living, sleep for seniors is more natural to get. Here, there're fewer stressors to make falling asleep simpler. Furthermore, there're things to do in a senior living center which maximize sleep time.
A senior living facility plays a significant role in promoting better sleep patterns. The center is structured to offer seniors chance to improve sleep patterns which have potential to improve their health. So, every senior should consider an assisted living facility to enhance their lives and live longer with better sleep.