The Importance of Sleep for Older Adults
The importance of sleep for anyone — at any age — cannot be understated. However, it's a common misconception that your sleeping needs decrease as you get older, leading many people to think that you need less sleep each night the older you get. As nice as this would be with our ever-growing responsibilities and never-ending to-do lists, doctors still recommend that adults need seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
It can Become Harder to Get Quality Sleep.
As you age, getting good, quality sleep can become much harder. This is partially due to changes in our sleeping patterns that create issues as we're trying to fall asleep. You may also notice that you're waking up earlier or more often throughout the night.
Another factor may be changes to our circadian rhythm. The older you get, the sleepier you may be in the early evening — thus leading you to wake earlier in the morning compared to younger adults.
Tips for Sleeping Better
Although these negative changes in sleep are not ideal, they are considered a normal part of the aging process. Making sure we're getting good sleep, especially during our older years, is especially important to keep us healthy and active. The good news is that there are several tactics you can add to your daily routine to ensure you're getting your best sleep!
Take a warm bath before bedtime.
After soaking in a warm bath, your body temperature will drop and will signal your brain that it's time to go to sleep. Not to mention that a nice, warm bath aids in relaxation and promotes a calm and peaceful start to your sleep.
Avoid afternoon naps, if possible.
Taking naps too late in the afternoon can definitely cause you to stay awake later into the night. As we age, avoiding naps can become difficult, but by keeping yourself awake during the afternoon, you're saving yourself the aggravation of a sleepless night.
Take time to wind down.
Dim the lights in your bedroom about an hour before it's time to go sleep. Consider putting on calming music to relax and unwind. Turn off all of your electronic devices so that the blue light won't affect your snooze time. Another good way to wind down is to do some light reading before you hit the hay. All of these are great ways to signal your mind and body that it's time to get your Zzz's.
Think of your bed as a sleep-only zone.
Only get into bed when you're actually feeling tired. Not doing so can lead to tossing and turning as you try to snooze. If you lay in bed for more than 20 minutes and can't fall asleep, try getting up and walking around. Only return to your bed when you feel sleepy. This will train your body to think of your bed as a sleep-only zone.
Try an adjustable base.
As we age, it can become harder and harder to sleep lying down. Many older adults actually prefer to sleep in recliners due to existing pain that they experience while lying flat. An adjustable base can be completely customized to your personal preferences so you can control your comfort level and fall asleep faster.
Drink less fluids at night.
Limit the amount of fluids you're drinking before bedtime to decrease your chances of having to wake up and use the restroom in the middle of the night. This includes alcohol as even the smallest amounts of booze can wake you up during your slumber.
Get regular exercise.
Wear yourself out by exercising regularly throughout the week. Go on a walk or light jog through the neighborhood, or take an evening bike stroll around sunset. Just make sure not to exercise within three hours of bedtime as doing so can have a reverse effect on your sleep.
Even though getting sleep can become a more difficult task as we age, sleep is still as important as ever no matter how old we get. Mattress Firm has no complaints about getting older, and by sticking to proper routines and being healthy in all aspects of our lives, we can get our best sleep no matter what age we are.