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The Importance of Quality Sleep for Seniors

Sleep is one of the rare bodily functions that scientists don’t completely understand quite yet. Though there is still much up in the air, one thing researchers do know is just how important it is to one’s overall bodily function. Sleep impacts how our heart pumps blood, our metabolism, our brain function, and more. With all this clearly outlined, the importance of quality sleep for seniors is crystal clear.

Despite that being the case, many older adults struggle to achieve a good night’s rest on a regular basis. Seniors are less likely to fall into a deep sleep, which then causes them to wake more easily. This poor sleep can lead to many problems. For the sake of their health—both mental and physical—seniors must make a point to get a good night’s sleep.

The Importance of Quality Sleep for Seniors

What are the benefits of quality sleep?

Your sleep—whether it was good or bad—sets the course for your day, and can even impact the rest of your week. In addition to giving you a few hours to recover from any stresses of the day, getting quality sleep has strong implications on one’s overall health.

Mood improvements

Mental health is strongly impacted by sleep quality. Poor sleep can lead to problems such as irritability, low mood, and a foggy head. If these problems persist, seniors can experience more severe conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression. To fight off mood problems, seniors should make an effort to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Boost in memory and concentration

When one gets a poor night’s sleep, their memory recall suffers and their attention span is shorter. Naturally, we can’t count on a good night’s sleep every night, but if this is a long-standing problem you will begin to experience issues with long-term memory and decision-making. Some research shows that poor sleep throughout one’s life is a risk factor for dementia.

With better sleep comes better memory retention and concentration on your daily tasks. Making an effort to do so will result in better brain health.

A lowered risk of disease

You may not realize it, but when you don’t sleep well, you are putting unnecessary stress on your body. Stress raises the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and a weakened immune system. Sleep, on the other hand, gives your body the chance to restore muscles and tissues, as well as assist with neural connections. This is a great benefit to your immune system.

Poor sleep has also been shown to increase your risk of obesity. While the answer as to “why” is still up in the air, researchers have a few hypotheses.

  • Sleep deprivation leads to irregular levels of neurotransmitters that impact appetite
  • Poor sleep is associated with metabolic dysregulation
  • Those who are sleep deprived are more likely to crave foods high in carbohydrates, sugar, and calories

Though it can be a result of a number of reasons, sleep clearly has an impact on one’s weight, which is crucial to one’s overall physical health.

Get sleep for your health

Why are seniors more likely to have sleep problems?

According to a study by the CDC, one in three adults gets less than seven hours of sleep a night. Seniors, in particular, might struggle to get enough sleep for these reasons:

  • Illness and pain. Certain health conditions can lead to feelings of sickness or pain, which can keep you up at night. If you experience this problem, talk to your doctor about something that can help you manage this condition.
  • Medication. Certain medications keep seniors awake or make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Mental health. Mental health problems, whether brought on by the stress of aging or through the loss of a loved one, can impact your ability to sleep. This includes both depression and anxiety.
  • Too much downtime. While relaxing might be exactly what you want to do, too much downtime can actually make it difficult to fall asleep at night. For better sleep, have avenues that keep you active—such as an exercise regimen, a class, or an afternoon with friends.
  • Sleep disorders. Insomnia, snoring, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and other sleep disorders can keep you awake or wake you up at night. If you suffer from one of these conditions, talk to your doctor about developing treatment.

How seniors can get quality sleep

First and foremost, the best way to improve one’s quality of life is through lifestyle changes before anything else. Start with these tips, and add other changes to your life as necessary.

Keep a regular schedule and bedtime routine

It’s easy to lose one’s routine upon retiring. However, when one doesn’t keep a regular sleep schedule, they may start to develop problems. Try to keep details like when you wake up or when you exercise the same for the sake of your internal clock. For about an hour before bed, try to stick to a set sleep schedule. A good example is showering, brushing one’s teeth, and then reading before bed.

Keep electronics out of the bedroom

Blue light is a certain frequency of light that boosts one’s alertness. Your computer, television, tablet, and cell phone all radiate blue light. It is advised that you stop using your electronics about an hour before bed so that you can better wind down. Keep them out of the bedroom to eliminate the temptation to use them.

Avoid daytime napping

There may be times when you need a power nap to get through the remainder of the day. That is fine, but try to avoid sleeping too long or napping too often. If you’re tired throughout the day, consider going to bed a little earlier at night instead of taking a long nap.

Care at home

If you find you struggle with the activities of daily living as you age, consider calling upon the help of an at-home caregiver for support. These individuals can aid with personal care, meal preparation, running errands, and so much more. For further information, give us a call at (623) 526-6367.

About Us

You have come to the right place if you are looking for in-home care for elderly loved ones or yourself in the Phoenix area. Our team of experts provides quality services to senior citizens in the comfort of their own homes. We understand that each individual is unique. We have a vast team of experts carefully detailing every care plan with years of experience-backed care knowledge.

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