Aging and Sleep: How Does Growing Old Affect Your Sleep?

Authored by:  Ashley Lipman

The United States is home to over 52 million senior citizens. Aging Americans are faced with a host of health problems and dealing with these problems can be difficult. As you get older, you may start to deal with difficulties sleeping. Being unable to get the quality rest you need can affect your overall health, which is why getting to the root cause of these problems is important.

In this article, we will cover some information on common sleep problems faced by senior citizens and what can be done to address these issues.

The Affect Aging Has On Sleep

The older the human body gets, the more problems a person will start to experience. The more you know about the sleep problems older people commonly have, the easier it will be to spot these issues in your own life. There are a handful of sleep disturbances reported by older adults and here are some of them.

Issues With Daytime Napping

A recent study found that nearly 25% of older adults claim to take naps during the day. While shorter naps can be beneficial, extended daytime sleeping can pose problems when trying to get rest at night. If you have been consistently napping for hours during the daytime, you need to change this habit immediately. The longer you take daytime naps, the higher the risk becomes for problems with insomnia and restlessness.

Waking Up During the Night

Restlessness at night can be caused by a variety of problems. If you are starting to wake up through the night at odd times, figuring out why is crucial. An uncomfortable mattress is one of the most common causes of this problem. If the mattress you are currently sleeping on is not providing the right amount of support, getting a good night’s sleep will be difficult. This is why you need to invest in a mattress that supports spinal alignment.

Altered Sleep Schedules Can Be Problematic

Did you realize that your circadian rhythm will shift forward in time as you age? When this happens, your sleep schedule will be turned upside down. If you find yourself getting extremely tired in the afternoon, then this may be a sign that your circadian rhythm is changing. Making a few changes to your sleep schedule is crucial when experiencing these issues. While it will take some getting used to, these changes will become the standard over time.

Great Sleep Tips For Seniors

Now that you know more about the common sleep issues that senior citizens face, it is time to talk about solutions for these issues. If you are getting restless at night, then chances are increasing the amount of physical activity you get during the day is a good idea. By doing this, you will actually be tired by the time bedtime rolls around.

When dealing with sleep issues, you also need to think about eliminating any distractions in your bedroom. These distractions generally include things like a loud television and cell phones on the bedside table. By turning the television off and putting your cell phone in another room, you can reduce the chances that you will stay up all night looking at these electronic devices.

You also need to avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine before you attempt to go to bed. Most experts agree that you should avoid consuming these substances at least three hours before you bed down for the night.

Don’t Let Sleep Problems Persist

Ignoring sleep problems can negatively affect your entire body. This is why it is important to diagnose and fix these issues prohibiting you from getting quality sleep. 

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