In recent years, we’ve been hearing more and more about the importance of getting adequate sleep. The ubiquity of distractions and electronic screens in the twenty-first century makes getting a good night’s sleep more difficult today than ever, and this issue affects each age group differently. Most of us have heard that growing kids need more sleep than adults do, and there is definitely truth to that idea. However, many of us also assume that this means we need less and less sleep as we age, leaving us with a misconception that seniors need less sleep than anyone else. However, once you hit your twenties, the amount of sleep you need to stay healthy stays roughly the same for the rest of your life. Sleep issues are more complicated than many people think.
Sleep is a particularly important matter for seniors. This is largely because, as we get older, the likelihood of developing sleep-inhibiting health problems tends to go up. Examples of these health concerns include:
- Cardiovascular issues
- Sleep apnea
- Arthritis pain
- Urinary health problems
- Restless leg syndrome
- Side effects of certain medications
These issues, which disproportionately affect seniors, can lead to or exacerbate insomnia. Furthermore, as we age, something called Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome tends to set in, which causes the body’s internal clock to favor earlier bed and wake-up times. However, many seniors continue to stay up late when this occurs, causing them to lose valuable sleeping hours on either side of the night.
There are many things that people of all ages can use to improve their likelihood of getting adequate sleep. In a recent two-part blog, we described how the influence of smartphones and other electronic devices make healthy sleep difficult for many people in the modern era, giving some tips on how to reduce distractions from your smartphone. You can start there (and we’ll be back with a more in-depth blog on how to get better sleep soon), but here five general ideas you can try:
- Talk to your doctor about safely addressing any health issues or adjusting any medications that may be keeping you awake.
- Read a good book (or a dull one) to help your eyes get heavy.
- Listen to relaxing music or soundscapes.
- Remodel/rearrange your sleeping area to simulate a more relaxed environment.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants later in the day (or altogether).
Our needs evolve as we get older, and no one understands that better than the people here at Village Park Senior Living. Our experienced, professional staff is dedicated to helping seniors tackle the challenges and embrace the benefits of aging. If you’re interested in learning about what we can do for you or your loved one—assisted living, independent living, memory care, or any of the several other programs, activities, and living options we offer—please contact Village Park Senior Living for more information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and to check back often for new blogs.