Categories: Sleep Science

Sleep and Aging

Just as our hair will likely turn grey and wrinkles will probably adorn our faces, as we age many of us can expect to encounter sleep changes.

These sleep and aging changes can result in waking up throughout the night, becoming sleepy earlier, and awakening earlier than we used to.

Sleep and Aging Statistics

As many as 50 percent of seniors experience some sort of sleep disturbance as they embark on their golden years.  And according to the National Institute of Aging, a good number of seniors are not getting enough sleep. One of the reasons that many seniors are sleep deprived is in their trouble in falling asleep. More than a third of women and 13 percent of men reported taking more than an half an hour (30 minutes) to fall asleep (sleep latency), according to a study the institute cited.

Why These Sleep and Aging Changes

Fortunately, there are some plausible explanations to the sleep pattern changes many elderly adults experience. As adults age, their body produces — and secretes — less of the “sleep hormone” melatonin.  In addition, older adults may have medical conditions that cause them pain or restrict their painless movement during sleep, which affects the quality of their nighttime sleep. Certain medications may be stimulating, which can disrupt and interrupt sleep.

Further, some older individuals quite often don’t sleep as deeply (i.e. Stages 3 and 4, and REM sleep) as they did in their younger years, causing them to wake up more frequently during the night; this is referred to as fragmented sleep.  This results in many seniors feeling the need to take a daily afternoon nap. Lastly, most seniors are “retired”. This may mean that their days aren’t filled with as many physical  or mental activities as when they were younger which had “tired them out” more.  Other life situations, such as the death of a spouse or moving out of their lifelong home can be a source of sleep problems.

Tips for Better Sleep As You Age

Fortunately, there are things that you can do as a senior to get more quality shut eye as you age:

1) Participate in aerobic exercise during the morning or afternoon, if approved by your physician. A recent study by the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University found that aerobic exercise improved the duration and quality of sleep in middle-aged and older adults.

2) Avoid napping if possible.

3) Consider a light bedtime snack that is believed to help promote sleep.

4) Avoid caffeine and alcohol at least three to four hours before bedtime.

5) Keep a regular bedtime and wake up time each day. Consider using a sleep diary to keep track.

6) Invest in a quality, comfortable mattress.

Remember, waking up tired every day is not normal, and can affect the quality of your golden years. If you are consistently having trouble sleeping, and the above tips haven’t helped, it’s important to discuss your sleeping problems with your doctor or a sleep specialist.

Link to Us!

If you found this article useful and shareable, please copy and paste the following into the html code of your website or blog:

Learn More about Getting a Better Night's Sleep and Good Sleep Hygiene at <a href="">Plushbeds Green Sleep Blog</a>.
(Visited 207 times, 1 visits today)


    Recent Posts

    Using an Adjustable Bed for Back Pain

    Back pain. It can be disruptive when trying to get a good night’s sleep. Whether you have an injury or… Read More

    2 days ago

    Live a Vibrant, More Intentional Life With Loveleaf Co.™

    If you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know Loveleaf Co.™ founder, Ally Milligan, now is your chance. (more…)… Read More

    1 week ago

    Caring For Your Organic Cotton Bed Sheets

    When you purchase organic bed sheets, you are making an investment in the quality of your sleep. Like any investment,… Read More

    2 weeks ago

    Earth Day Every Day

    Earth Day falls on April 22, 2019. It represents a day when the world celebrates the planet together. In fact,… Read More

    1 month ago

    Plush Bed vs Firm Bed: What Is The Difference?

    During your search for the perfect mattress, you’re likely to come across certain terms that need further explanation. Plushness and… Read More

    1 month ago

    Sofa Bed Mattress Buyers Guide

    Most people who invest in a sofa bed, do so for the comfort of visiting family, friends and other guests. You… Read More

    2 months ago