Sleep is important for everyone regardless of how old you are. But as we age, we often experience changes in our sleeping patterns, such as getting tired earlier and waking up earlier, or even not getting as much deep sleep.
Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not a time when the body and mind shut down but are quite active in ways that help us to gain strength, restore energy, grow, and recharge. During sleep, short-term memories are transformed into long-term memory. This means sleep is vital for overall memory and adequate amounts of sleep can help reduce memory-loss related diseases.
Why is sleep so important
The amount f sleep we need is based on a few different factors but generally comes down to age. Different age range needs a certain number of hours of sleep in order to be fully rested.
According to the CDC, the breakdown is as follows:
- Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
- Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours
- Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
- Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
- School age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours
- Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours
- Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours
- Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours
- Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours
Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of issues that escalate, the longer you experience it.
Here are some of the short-term effects of sleep deprivation:
- Inability to retain short-term memories
- Impaired judgment
- Higher risk of accidents
Long-term effects include:
- Increasingly worse insomnia
- Depression & anxiety
Exercise can go a long way to help you maintain a healthy sleep schedule. A study that compared 53 physically active older women to 48 women who didn't exercise showed that the exercisers slept an average of 50 minutes more each night than the sedentary group. The physically active women also rated their sleep quality at 8.3 out of 10 compared to the non-exercisers who rated their sleep satisfaction at only 5.8. Brisk walks and exercise classes for older adults are great options to help you achieve quality sleep. But make sure not to exercise too close to bedtime and reserve that time for light stretching.
Find the right routine
Following certain daily routines can make falling asleep and staying asleep easier. Limit napping to no more than 30 minutes at a time, and only nap in the early afternoon. Have light evening meals, and limit liquid intake before bed to avoid middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom. Make sure your evening routine is a relaxing one that allows you to unwind and avoid unpleasant tasks that might cause stress right before bed. Try to establish a routine that you stick to every day, even on your off days ( from work/school). A great way to help aid in a restful sleep is to take a warm bath about an hour to two hours before going to bed. The heat from the warm bath causes your blood to circulate and increases body temperature. This helps aid in starting your natural circadian process and improves sleep overall. Check out our bath safety products here.
Keep work out of the bedroom
If you tend to work on your laptop or do homework in the bed, this can be the reason for your restless nights. Continuing to work in the space that is designated for rest and relaxation confuses your mind and body. This can also make you associate the stress you experience from work and school with your bed. If possible, try to avoid doing stressful activities like this close to your bedtime.
When it comes to comfort supplies you may need to help with your daily and sleep routines, BEK Medical can help. We offer a full selection of supplies and equipment, including compression stockings, incontinence supplies, and mobility products. Visit us in person at our Dallas and El Paso locations, or check out our online store today!