Quality sleep is essential for older adults.
Humans are designed to require sleep.
Getting good rest helps people function better while they are awake.
Failing to get an appropriate quantity or quality of sleep can have mild to severe consequences.
According to a recent Medicare Advantage article titled “Seniors and Sleep: How Much Sleep You Need and How You Can Get It,” the National Institute on Aging explains younger and older adults both require seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Unlike their younger counterparts, however, seniors tend to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.
When people get less than the appropriate amount of shuteye, they can become irritable, struggle with memory, feel depressed, and are more likely to have accidents or falls.
These can prove especially dangerous for older adults.
What steps can seniors take to improve the quality and quantity of their rest?
Setting a routine and schedule for the evening and morning can help prime the mind and body for sleep.
Daily physical activity like walking around the neighborhood and getting sunlight exposure encourages the body to rest in the evening.
Although sometimes naps are necessary, these should be kept to 30 minutes.
Diet is also a key sleep ingredient.
Caffeine and sugar foods can keep the body from winding down at night.
Avoid watching television or scrolling through electronics in the hours immediately preceding bedtime.
Although hydration supports health generally, older adults should avoid drinking liquids in the evening as their bodies may wake them in the night to relieve themselves.
Those who are married may find their spouse snores.
Using earplugs or a sound machine may help.
If not, consider sleeping in different rooms.
Although perfect sleep is not guaranteed, older adults can improve their chances of resting well by following some or all of these simple pointers.
A good wearable can help you monitor your sleep with metrics like duration, deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, and time awake.
I really like my Garmin Venu 2, which monitors these sleep metrics and so much more.
Every morning I wake up, and with a quick glance at my Garmin, I can check my overnight heart rate, body battery, sleep score/rating, breaths per minute, blood oxygen, and stress level.
Perhaps you and I share a Type A Personality profile.
In that case, you know there is nothing more engaging than a little friendly competition with yourself.
Adding sleep to your diet and exercise disciplines can pay short- and long-term health dividends.
Reference: Medicare Advantage (Nov. 17, 2021) “Seniors and Sleep: How Much Sleep You Need and How You Can Get It”