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Sleep Tips
Sleep Tips

The Best Sleep Products to Support Your Body As You Get Older

A mature man rouses in the early morning light, stretching as he wakes.
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Most of us know that sleep isn’t one size fits all, but the adage even rings true for the same person over the course of their life. As we age, our body changes and our sleep quality declines, making it more difficult (but just as important!) to get our seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep.

“There was a bit of a myth floating around when I first started my training a long time ago that as people get older, they need less sleep,“ said Jennifer L. Martin, Ph.D., on a recent episode of the podcast “Chasing Sleep.” “But that was based on studies where they didn't account for the fact that older people take more naps.”

Martin, a clinical sleep psychologist, a professor of medicine at UCLA and past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has done extensive research on sleep and aging.” She notes that sleep is an important process in our bodies at any age — but that as we get older, our activity levels decrease and our needs change, and it can become harder to get quality rest.

Tips to Help Older Adults Get Great Sleep

In nursing homes, differentiate daytime and nighttime care plans to maximize sleep

On “Chasing Sleep,” Sarah Brown, executive director of Imperial Systems Home Care in Minnesota, shared the tip that many nighttime care plans for seniors in nursing homes are actually based on their daytime care plans, designed for when the person is awake. This sometimes leads to unnecessary overnight awakenings that can disrupt sleep.

Brown pointed out that overall, getting older doesn’t mean we should pay less attention to our sleep. In fact, it becomes more important than ever. There are many studies linking chronic sleep deprivation to heart disease, diabetes, dementia and other chronic disease.

“If you think about sleep at its core ... sleep is really our body's medicine and our body's opportunity to let the body do what it's supposed to do,” said Brown. “To heal, to regenerate, to balance hormones, to process memories and to process stress.”

This is why it’s so important for seniors to nap when they need to. While many of us are told that napping is bad for our sleep, a well-timed nap of the right duration has real benefits, especially as we get older.

“We saw that napping — like that siesta kind of nap — could be healthy,” said Brown. She recommends a shorter nap, of approximately 30 minutes. "If you sleep longer than that, what happens is you start to get into your deeper stage of sleep, and then you kind of rob from your nighttime sleep.”

According to Brown, those who do need a longer nap should aim for one full sleep cycle, which lasts approximately 90 minutes. A nap longer than that could seriously disrupt nighttime sleep or leave you feeling groggy.

Identify the right bedding and mattress for supported sleep

Identifying the right bedding is also critical to helping you get that sleep. For people who are getting older, joint support, pain relief and temperature regulation can be hugely helpful qualities in a mattress, pillow and other sleep accessories.

In fact, on “Chasing Sleep,” Brown said that she felt that the mattress is the biggest factor in helping people thrive. “In nursing homes, the mattress can make all the difference in the world,” Brown said. “A high-density foam mattress where you don't need to be turning and repositioning the body has protective mechanisms while we're sleeping.”

If you’re noticing that your sleep setup or the sleep setup of an aging loved one isn’t providing optimal support and comfort, it may be time to look into a more comfortable and supportive solution.

Here are some mattress recommendations to help you catch those zzz’s as you get older.

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-LuxeBreeze® Medium Hybrid

TEMPUR-LuxeBreeze® Medium Hybrid 13" Mattress

Tempur-Pedic offers a wide range of cooling mattresses for the hot sleeper. In the TEMPUR-LuxeBreeze, the heat-absorbing fibers of the zip-off, washable cover and innovative Pure Cool® Plus material absorb heat and provide enhanced temperature regulation.

Serta Perfect Sleeper® Charlotte 11.5" Medium Plush Mattress


A tried-and-true mattress for any kind of sleep, the Serta Perfect Sleeper offers a layer of cooling gel foam for contoured support, better pressure-point relief and the ideal sleep temperature.

Sleepy's Curve 12" Medium Memory Foam Mattress


This 12” Sleepy’s Curve is thick and supportive, offering the maximum height in the Sleepy’s® Memory Foam collection. With a 3” cooling layer, you can rest easy at your ideal temperature.

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt® 11" Medium Mattress


The TEMPUR-Adapt gives you all the great cooling and pressure relieving technology with the added bonus of motion isolation. It conforms precisely to your weight, shape and temperature, constantly adapting as you sleep to provide support and motion cancellation.

Mattress Firm 600 Adjustable Base


Kick your feet up and relax with the Mattress Firm 600 Adjustable Base. The head and feet up positioning may relieve aches, and the three-level massage setting could help relax your muscles and make it easier to unwind after a long day. Adjustable bases are great for helping you get in and out of bed and minimize blood pooling.

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