Ensuring that the right balance of sleep quality and hours slept is consistent in seniors’ routines is important for mental and physical health. Sleep is essential for healing and for restoration of body and mind.
How Much Sleep?
The advised amount of sleep for adults stays consistent from age twenty to the senior years. While the number of hours of sleep that an individual needs varies based on multiple factors, most adults should be aiming for between seven and nine hours of sleep. Feelings, rhythms and schedules may change, as many seniors begin to experience tiredness earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning.
Sleep Troubles for Seniors
There are many factors that can cause seniors to have greater difficulty falling and staying asleep, and the quality of rest that they experience may be less than restorative. Multiple features of seniors’ lives can create obstacles to good sleep, such as:
- Sleep Apnea (Interruption or Cessation of Breathing While Asleep)
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Health Issues
- Frequent Urination
Each of these factors alone can significantly alter the quality of sleep that occurs, and seniors must often face a combination that can make sleep unsatisfying.
Promoting Good Sleep
The following are some strategies to help seniors get on track with good sleep patterns:
- Remember Emotions: Emotional factors can impact sleep quality. Techniques or treatments to manage mental and emotional struggles can help with sleep.
- Move More: Adding physical activity into the day can help to promote longer and better quality sleep.
- Make It Comfortable: Manage light, noise, and physical comfort, and anything else that might make the environment better for sleep.
- Keep Track of Behaviour: Limit behaviours that undermine the best sleep to give seniors the chance to get the most out of their nights. Limit time spent in front of a screen before bed, and caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Get to the Root: Many factors can contribute to poor sleep, so it is helpful to determine what is coming into play. Researching the side-effects of medications or the symptoms of health problems can help bring culprits to light.
Insufficient or poor quality sleep can lead to many negative feelings, emotions, and symptoms for seniors, so it is important to make good quality sleep a priority.