Blog Section

Why Seniors Need Sleep

The fountain of youth might be found in your dreams! Contrary to popular belief, seniors don’t need less sleep than their younger counterparts. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is one of the biggest secrets to staying cognitively sharp throughout the years.

Unfortunately, many adults over 65 get much less sleep than they need, for a variety of reasons. This is why a major priority of home health care in Chesterfield is making sure that older adults are receiving the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Here are some reasons why they might not be getting the right amount of sleep, and how to encourage them to get a few extra Z’s.

Why Aren’t Seniors Sleeping Enough?

Whether it’s due to medication or an erratic schedule, many older adults are getting less shut-eye than they should. For many, this change in sleep patterns can be attributed to the effects of aging on the body.

Seniors typically also take longer to fall asleep and wake up frequently throughout the night. This is because the body creates less of the chemicals and hormones that aid in sleep, such as melatonin, as it ages. One study of adults over the age of 65 found that 13% of men and 36% of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

What Are The Negative Effects?

Sleep impairment (getting six or fewer hours of sleep each night) can have a major impact on cognitive functioning. When humans are fatigued or awake for too long, their brain can become over-stimulated and stressed. Seniors who don’t get enough sleep each night are more prone to anxiety and depression, have difficulty with information recall, and are more at-risk for falls and accidents. Research also suggests that sleep deprivation can lead to irreversible brain damage, as well as shrinking brain volume.

Why Sleep More

There is a slew of benefits to being well-rested for seniors. Older adults who receive the recommended amount of sleep each night find that they are able to recall information quickly, think clearly, and make more rational decisions. Sleep also helps repair damaged cells and tissues, which can help improve pain tolerance and boost the immune system.

Ways to Get More Rest

Taking a quick 30-minute power nap is a great way to recharge, especially for seniors that didn’t get as much sleep as they should have the night before. Whenever possible, naps should be avoided in the late afternoon or evening. This will make it more difficult to fall asleep later on that night.

A routine for those taking advantage of home health care in Macomb is also important. Seniors should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This trains the body to become tired at a certain time, making it easier to fall asleep each night.