Aging is a normal part of life …as we tack on the years, our bodies change, and along with it our sleep patterns. You might notice that as you age, you need to go to bed earlier, you have a hard time staying awake late at night, or you’re waking up earlier than usual. Granted, each individual person will be different with their sleeping habits and quality, but in general, a good night’s sleep is key for functioning at optimum levels – at every stage of life.
Sleep Improves Concentration
Not only do we have improvements in our overall daily concentration during tasks with a good night of rest, but it also increases our memory and retention when we can get some good shut eye. From babies to the elderly, sleep allows the body to essentially refresh and recharge itself, both from the inside out – helping to decrease the chances of getting chronic diseases, building the immune system, and increasing memory.
How much Sleep do you Need?
People will vary in their sleep needs across the board, but as we age, we need to aim for between 7.5-9 hours a night. Occasionally though, seniors will experience symptoms that might make it more challenging for them to get rest at night; these include medicine interactions and side effects, not getting enough physical activity, menopause, pain related to injuries or other chronic conditions, and a bedtime ritual that leads to poor sleeping habits and a reduced sleep quality.
Create a Positive Sleep Environment
Some of these symptoms and conditions are not ones that are easily or quickly fixed…however, creating a positive sleep environment is a definite plus for seniors, and a key factor in sleep health that can be rectified in a short amount of time. So, what can we do as we age to provide ourselves the best sleep possible?
Find a good Mattress
For one, finding a good mattress is extremely beneficial. It’s no secret that our bodies are more susceptible to physical problem as we age, and they can end up making it more difficult for us to get to sleep at night. This is where a good mattress comes into play: finding the right mattress that will keep your spine in a neutral position (therefore limiting or eliminating lower back issues), having the proper edge support to reduce the risk of falling or rolling out of bed, and diminishing the pressure that is constantly put on pressure points throughout the body.
Lifestyle Adjustments can help you Improve your ability to Sleep
Once you’ve found the best mattress for you, then it’s just a matter of making some lifestyle adjustments to ensure you’ve got the proper sleep routine set as you age. Reducing caffeine before bedtime, turning off cell phones and televisions, and trying to go to bed at the same time each night – and therefore making a pattern out of your circadian rhythm – are all helpful steps in being able to get the best sleep that you can get as you get older. Take care of your body as you age (and even try to implement these helpful tips sooner than later) and you’ll be enjoying a restful night’s sleep well into your senior years!
By: Dr. Eboni Green
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