Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep to Seniors
There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep. Although sleep requirements may vary for every individual, as we age, we need 7 to 9 hours of restorative sleep every night to stay healthy and active. As we get older, we become more prone to disease and are at a higher risk for injury, thus our body needs adequate time to relax and rejuvenate.
Here are some benefits of a good night’s sleep for seniors.
- It reduces the risk of cognitive decline associated with aging.
- It makes your senior loved one’s brain stronger to fight against dementia.
- It helps repair damaged cells and tissue.
- It helps boost the immune system.
- It helps prevent disease.
- It prevents depression.
- It improves focus.
- It reduces the risk of falls or accidents.
Superior health starts with a night of restful sleep, particularly for older adults. However, as we get older our sleep patterns or habits change, in fact, according to a study, older adults may have at least one sleep disorder like snoring and sleep apnea, insomnia, and other health issues that may interfere with sleep on a regular basis. A fragmented sleep at night can make you feel tired and grumpy during the day, an indication that you are not getting an adequate amount of sleep.
It is common for the elderly to have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night, but lack of sleep can take a toll on our overall well being. That said, here are some tips to promote a good night’s sleep for seniors.
- Encourage your seniors to exercise regularly.
Daily exercise does not only a great way to get a good night’s sleep but to promote overall senior care as well. Exercising provides seniors endorphins to boost their mood and makes them active and get tired during the day, making them fall asleep more easily during the night.
- Review and monitor their medications.
Your senior loved ones need medications, but you have to review and monitor if any of the medications have side effects that keep them awake or make them difficult to fall asleep at night. Thus, consult your doctor to see if they can replace the medications to address the issue or perhaps they can advise you to administer the medication at a different time of day.
- Create a sleep-friendly bedroom.
The bedroom atmosphere can make a huge difference in getting a good night’s sleep. Turn off the TV and other electronic gadgets because the light coming from those devices can keep the brain awake longer, so keep those out of the bedroom if possible. Instead of dim the lights one hour before bedtime to induce sleep and control your senior’s bedroom temperatures to get a better night’s sleep. If snoring keeps them awake at night invest in an anti-snoring mouthguard or mouthpiece to reduce snoring and improve the quality of sleep.
- Monitor their fluid intake.
Keeping your seniors hydrated during the day is vital; however, avoid drinking fluids for about an hour or two before bedtime as much as possible, particularly if they have a weak bladder history. Avoiding drinking fluids before bedtime will prevent them from waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom!
- Feed them foods that induce sleep.
If you have senior loved ones that suffer from sleep deprivation, there are foods that can calm the body, relax the mind and can help them find more restful sleep. For instance, many fruits like bananas, cherries, and apricots contain minerals like potassium and magnesium, which help promote sleep by relaxing the muscles and calming the nervous system. Also, mashed sweet potato with honey is a good bedtime treat which can help increase levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps induce sleep.
- Create and maintain a sleep schedule.
Create and adhere to a sleep schedule because our body learns to get tired and wake up based on our habits and routine. As much as possible, avoid long naps during the day so you can easily fall asleep at night. However, if you are sleeping with someone who snores, the annoying sound can take a toll on your restful sleep, so better invest in anti-snoring products to get rid of snoring or at least tone down the rattling and annoying sound of snoring.
A good night’s sleep promotes overall health and well being for all of us, but sleep deprivation has been shown to have negative health consequences for all of us, but most particularly the aging population. Thus, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes of our sleep problems to improve the quality of sleep.