No matter our age, having a good night’s sleep is important for our physical and mental health. A poor night’s sleep can cause more issues than we may think. As we age, our sleep cycles may change, causing us to wake up earlier or later, or have to fall asleep earlier in the day, or even having not as deep of a sleep as you are used to. Changes like these can be considered common with age, however there are things like insomnia that are important to look out for.
Having a steady and normal sleep cycle can help your body in many physical ways. On top of helping us feel fully rested when we wake up, it can help our immune system, memory, and repair cell damage throughout the body. As we age, our sleep may change but there are things to keep an eye out for to help us change any habits or add anything to freshen up our rest.
What Happens with Age
With age, our bodies will produce less of the growth hormone that can help us have a deeper sleep. This can cause you to feel like you might be becoming a lighter sleeper, or that you fall asleep and wake up multiple times a day. Things like this can be seen as normal as we age, but it is important to watch out for signs of other sleep issues.
If your body is leaning towards taking more naps during the day than before, there are ways to nap that can be more efficient for yourself. Napping in an environment that is dimly lit and not too noisy can help make your nap better for you. On top of that, making sure your naps are on the shorter end, around 15-45 minutes can ensure that you are not waking up more tired than you did before.
While changes in sleep patterns with age are common and can happen to everyone, there are things that can be done to try to make your night’s sleep more effective.
Since sleep has such a huge effect on you physically, that also means that the things you do physically before your 8 hours of rest can affect it. What you put into your body can change how you sleep. Not eating large meals, caffeine, or sugar before you plan on going to bed can change how you sleep. You want to make sure you are not drinking too much water before you sleep or having too many carbs in the day as these can add do you having a less deep sleep as well.
Additionally, adding a form of exercise or activity in your day can help you rest too. This can mean adding a simple walk around your block or lap in the pool can help your body sleep better at night, and stay asleep as well. Joining an active seniors group may be what you need to help your sleep patterns.
Even though our sleep habits will change as we age, there are still things we can control outside of those 8 hours. By controlling what we do within our day, it can help make sure we are getting the best sleep we can.