Aging at Home Caregiving Wellbeing

Understanding the Importance of Adequate Sleep for the Elderly

If you’ve ever found yourself lying awake at night staring at the ceiling, you know how frustrating getting poor-quality sleep can be. Problems with sleep may worsen with age, which increases a senior’s risks of sleep disorders.

Sleep disorders are common in older adults, and they can have a significant impact on quality of life, especially if they’re not dealt with promptly. The most common sleep disorders in seniors include insomnia, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome (RLS), to name a few.

Although not all seniors experience sleep disorders, understanding the importance of adequate rest can help families ensure that their loved ones get enough shuteye and prevent other issues associated with sleep deprivation.

Dayton home care explain the dangers of sleep deprivation to encourage the elderly to get adequate rest and maintain healthy sleep schedules.

 

Why Is Sleep So Important?

To understand why we need sleep, it’s important to know what sleep does for our bodies.

A good night’s sleep allows the body to put all of its resources toward healing and repairing the body. This includes everything from helping the body recover from a cold to repairing muscles or strengthening bones. In other words, sleep can help our bodies heal. This is especially important for seniors who are susceptible to illness or injury, or seniors who are trying to stay active through their golden years.

On the other hand, a lack of sleep renders the body incapable of allocating energy to these healing processes, which can cause serious health issues and weaken the immune system.

Sleep also allows the body to balance hormone levels it needs to function properly. For instance, sleep helps our bodies produce enough of the hormone leptin, which signals a feeling of fullness after a meal. Individuals who don’t get enough sleep are likely to feel hungry more often, eat too much, and are at a higher risk for obesity, which can cause a number of other health problems.

Here at Home Care Assistance, we see sleep as an integral part of our Balanced Care Method. We believe that keeping the body and mind healthy is vital, and it is one of our top priorities when it comes to care.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s important to figure out why and make changes so that you can get back on track as soon as possible.

 

Understanding the Importance of Adequate Sleep for the Elderly

 

Is Sleep Deprivation Dangerous?

Having a bad night’s sleep every once in a while is not dangerous, but when sleep issues disturb you more frequently, it can begin to affect your physical, mental, and sometimes even your emotional health.

Have you ever wondered why many people advocate for a good night’s sleep before a really important day, such as a test, presentation, or job interview? It’s because when we get enough sleep, our minds are sharper and better able to make decisions or adapt throughout the day.

Interrupted sleep not only means an individual isn’t getting all the benefits outlined above, but it also affects memory, cognitive function, and reasoning capabilities.

Getting quality sleep is thought to impact the brain by allowing it to process information it received during the day and make pathways to connect old and new information. It is also critical for the portion of our brain that handles decision-making, meaning that inadequate sleep can lead to poor judgment calls. Whereas, lack of sleep has been shown to negatively impact the way certain areas of the brain function. This can be especially problematic for senior individuals who already experience natural cognitive decline due to aging, or seniors who may be at a higher risk for cognitive decline.

So, is sleep deprivation dangerous? It can be, especially if we are not taking the necessary steps to change it.

 

How Much Sleep Is the Right Amount?

Getting the right amount of sleep is important, but exactly how much should an individual get each night?

The amount of sleep an individual needs varies from person to person, but most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. There are even some individuals who may require as much as ten or more hours of sleep.

Contrary to popular belief, seniors do not require any less sleep than anyone else. In fact, the elderly may need more sleep because aging can make it harder for the body to perform healing and processing tasks with less rest.

Most of the time, people need to make sure they get an average of 8 hours of restful sleep each night. This is considered a healthy amount for most adults, and it’s especially important for aging individuals. If you or a loved one are struggling to get enough sleep at night, contact out to our team of care professionals – we are happy to answer your questions and do what we can to help you get the rest you need.

 

Understanding the Importance of Adequate Sleep for the Elderly

 

How Can Seniors Improve Sleeping Patterns?

Each person operates differently, which means that sleeping might be easier for some, while others find themselves feeling restless and awake throughout the night.

If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, here are a few things you can do to improve your sleeping patterns:

  • Keep a regular wake and sleep cycle: This can help your body’s internal clock from getting confused. Ever notice why you get up earlier or later after the time change? This is your body trying to adjust to the change in its internal clock. In the same way, going to sleep and getting up at the same time daily can help the body establish good sleep patterns.
  • Avoid caffeine before bed: If caffeine has a tendency to keep you awake, don’t eat or drink anything with caffeine within six hours of bedtime, or just cut caffeine out of your diet completely. This will help you feel more relaxed and ready for sleep when the time comes.
  • Avoid eating before bed: Heavy meals and alcoholic beverages should also be avoided prior to sleep. Not only does it make it harder to fall asleep, but it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night with a full bladder. If you must eat before bed, try having a light snack like fruit or yogurt instead of something heavy like pizza or pasta. And if you must drink something before bed, just stick with a small glass of water.
  • Exercise during the day: An exercise routine can help the body have better quantity and quality of sleep and increase alertness during the day. It can also help regulate your body’s internal clock, so when the time comes to wind down, you will likely feel more calm and relaxed.
  • Create a good sleep environment: When the time comes to go to sleep, make sure your room is ready and optimal for sleeping. Make sure to minimize light, especially light from electronic devices, decrease noise around the house, and keep the room at a comfortable temperature.

These tips are just a handful of ways you can help your senior loved one sleep better at night.

 

If you are looking for a more tailored way to enhance your senior loved one’s health and wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our comprehensive part-time and live-in care in Dayton offers seniors help with daily activities like personal care, housekeeping, and regular exercise to establish a regular routine and promote overall health.

Call a knowledgeable Care Manager today at 937.353.7997 to learn more about how Home Care Assistance can help your senior loved one. Don’t forget to schedule your free in-home consultation.

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