It seems like common sense to suggest that seniors get plenty of sleep and maintain good health. But what does it really mean to get a sound sleep? How can a senior ensure that the sleep they’re getting is not only going to last the correct amount of hours, but will stave off diseases of the mind and body as well? Lack of sleep can be breeding ground for numerous diseases so it’s important to know how to improve solid slumber.
Without a sound sleep, numerous illnesses may begin to develop, ranging from osteoporosis and arthritis, to Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia. These diseases may occur earlier and more easily unless a senior is sleeping enough, and in the right sleep environment. Poor sleep can also increase the risk of falls and hasten death. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than six hours each night are 12% more likely to die prematurely.
On the other hand, too much sleep is not necessarily a good thing. People who sleep more than nine hours each night may have an underlying illness. It’s a common belief that seniors need more sleep than younger people, but according to the American Medical Association, seniors actually need less than they did at younger ages.
If a senior is sleepy during the day, it’s obvious that they are not getting enough sleep at night. Taking a nap during the day isn’t a good choice to compensate for that. A nap longer than 30 minutes can make it much harder to fall asleep at night- the time when the most important sleep occurs. While sleeping at night, memories are formed, consolidated, and solidified, so to speak. That’s one reason why a lack of sleep increases the risk of dementia.
Sleepiness during the day may indicate the need to see a doctor. If a good night’s sleep is impaired by sleep apnea, it means the senior is receiving a lower amount of oxygen during the night, which can increase the risk of cognitive decline. Moreover, a lack of sleep can allow the brain plaques of Alzheimer’s to appear earlier and more frequently.
One of the easiest things for seniors to do is ensure their sleep environment is the best it can possibly be to foster continuous sleep through the night. LivHOME specialists can help seniors to create a restful sleep environment in their home. Read more on our website and learn how to build habits that lead to better sleep habits.
For example, televisions and other technology, such as cell phones, need to be turned off at night. Their artificial light can partially fill a room, suppressing the melatonin that promotes sleep.
Whatever the causes preventing a senior from getting a healthy amount of sleep at night, it is important to discover them and address them. Without those hours on the pillow at night, too many chronic illnesses can occur. LivHOME can help at www.livhome.com.