The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

Much like oxygen, food and water, sleep is essential to our survival. The amount of sleep we need tends to vary by the individual; some of us require eight full hours to feel refreshed and ready to face the day, while others can manage perfectly fine on five to six hours.

However, according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults age 65 and older should get around seven to eight hours of sleep each night. This is the ideal amount of sleep needed to help restore your body’s energy levels, improve your health, and enhance your quality of life. Plus, without restful sleep, seniors may be tired and inattentive, which puts them at a higher risk for accidents and falls.

The Benefits of Sleep for Seniors

Seniors tend to experience a variety of sleep disorders, with insomnia being the most common in those age 60 and older. Insomnia occurs when you can’t fall or stay asleep, you wake up several times throughout the night, and you feel sleepy and out of sorts during the day. Or, some seniors have sleep apnea, in which they actually stop breathing for moments at a time while sleeping. Movement disorders like restless leg syndrome or rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder can also cause disruptions in sleep for many seniors.

However, getting a good night’s rest does more than just provide you with energy throughout the day. Studies have shown that improving your sleeping habits may help reduce cognitive decline and memory loss that can lead to dementia. You’ll find you feel better emotionally, too, as a lack of sleep and depression tend to go hand in hand. Plus, sleep can improve your overall health, as you’re providing your immune system with proper time to regain its strength to fight off illnesses like the common cold or flu.

5 Healthy Sleep Habits to Implement Now

Even though the amount of sleep you may need changes throughout your life, it’s still vital that you’re getting the best night’s sleep possible — every night — to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Here are five sleeping tips to ensure you’re enjoying all the benefits of a good night’s sleep:

  1. Get into a routine. Find ways to settle down for bed every night, and establish this as your nightly routine. This may mean enjoying a cup of decaffeinated tea, taking a warm bath, cuddling up with a good book or favorite magazine — anything that helps your body know it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep.
  2. Cut out daytime naps. Limit those daytime naps, especially those you take in the afternoon. Sleeping randomly throughout the day will make you less tired when it comes time to go to bed at night.
  3. Create a calm environment. Experts recommend limiting electronics in the bedroom, as the artificial light emitted by televisions, computers, tablets and cell phones actually suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. They can also affect your circadian rhythm, our biological “clock” calibrated by sunlight, and make it difficult to fall asleep in a timely fashion.
  4. Exercise and eat right. The more you move throughout the day, the more tired you’ll be when the evenings approach. Just make sure to finish any workouts at least three hours before bedtime. Likewise, cutting out foods with higher sugar content or caffeine later in the day can help you to sleep more soundly.
  5. Eliminate nightly stress. It’s common for some older adults to feel stressed out about not being able to sleep, which leads to even more problems falling and staying asleep. If you can’t fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, don’t panic. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to drift off, and if you do find you’re unable to sleep, get up for a little while and try to do a soothing activity until you become tired.

Meaningful, Vibrant Senior Living in North Florida at Advent Christian Village

Enjoy an enriching lifestyle at Advent Christian Village, where members continue their life’s passions with plenty of opportunities for personal growth. We offer a variety of living options with a continuum of care and hometown feel, ensuring you’ll live life to the fullest. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a personal tour.

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