Sleep and Aging
Contrary to popular belief our need for sleep does not diminish as we age. Healthy Adults and Senior’s alike require 7-9 hours of sleep. A restful sleep is especially important for Senior’s as it improves concentration, focus, memory recall and refreshes your immune system. Lack of adequate sleep in Senior’s has been linked to higher rates of depression, memory loss, heart disease, diabetes, weight loss/gain and breast cancer on women. Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking during the night, waking early and unable to go back to sleep.
Most sleep problems are temporary and can be resolved with a few simple tips.
• Take a brisk walk early in the day while the sun is shining
• Limit naps to 20-45 minutes and avoid napping after 2pm
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol 6 hours before bedtime
• Have a light snack 2 hours before bedtime-fruit, glass of milk, toast
• Turn off TV/Computer at least one hour before bedtime
• Manage any pain issues prior to bedtime per physicians instructions
• Taking a “warm” not hot bath can relax you and prepare your body for sleep
• Use low lighting in the bedroom
• Turn thermostat down
• Eliminate distracting noise-use a “white noise machine” if needed
• Go to bed at the same time each night
Contact your physician if your insomnia lasts more than 2 weeks or is affecting ability to manage your daily activities.
For more information visit the National Institute of Health website https://nihseniorhealth.gov/sleepandaging