The Importance of Quality Sleep for Seniors
Posted on April 18, 2017
Sleep is a crucial part of feeling rested and ready
to take on the day. More and more seniors find they cannot get good quality
sleep. This can cause issues for the elderly, which can then affect aging in
place and independence.
Do you find you have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the
night? If you answered yes, there is no need to worry; Alert1 is here to help.
Read on to find out why you may not be getting adequate sleep, and learn tips to
help you sleep better.
The Problems of Poor Sleep
Many seniors don’t realize the effects that poor
sleep has on them. Although it may seem like something you can ignore, the
effects on your body should be taken seriously. Sleep deprivation may cause:
- An increased fall risk. You may feel groggy
or less alert if you aren’t getting enough rest from sleep. This makes you more
prone to both day and nighttime falls. Since you aren't fully awake, obstacles
in the home become dangerous tripping hazards. Remember to always wear your Alert1 fall detection pendant. This will guarantee you get help fast if a fall occurs, no
matter what time it is.
- Diminished muscle strength and endurance. It’s common for poor sleep or sleep deprivation to make you feel more
tired than usual. Endurance may become low, causing your muscles to feel
fatigued and over worked. Sleep is what rejuvenates the body. The less you get,
the less efficient your body will act.
- Attention and memory
problems. Poor quality sleep may
cause memory loss and forgetfulness. Sleep helps your brain store new facts and
information. When you get poor sleep, you prevent yourself from retaining this
information. Sleep not only helps your body rest and recharge, but it also
helps your brain learn and remember.
Some Causes of Poor Sleep
There are countless reasons as to why seniors
cannot get good quality sleep, and it varies for many. The good news is that
many of these reasons are more obvious than you think. The sooner you know the
cause, the sooner you can fix it. Some of the most common sources of inadequate
sleep for seniors comes from:
- Napping too much. Naps are a refreshing way to
get rest during the day but can easily turn into deep sleep. This will then
affect your sleeping pattern at night. You should aim to nap for 45 minutes or
less, earlier in the day. Doing so will help ensure you do not affect your nighttime
- Consuming too much caffeine throughout the day. Caffeine stimulant strength can last longer as you age. It’s important
to be mindful of the amount of caffeine that you consume, and what time you
have it. For example, you should not drink coffee too late in the day so that
it doesn't keep you awake. Even if you have a cup of coffee early in the day,
its effects can carry over into the night and affect sleep quality.
- Medications interrupting sleep quality. Many medications that seniors take as they age are known to affect
sleep quality. Taking too many can also interfere with getting good quality
sleep, and many seniors are on more than one type of medication. See your
doctor about adjusting the dosage, timing, or switching the medication
Tips for Achieving Proper Sleep
Everybody deserves to have a good night’s rest.
By making just a few simple changes to your sleeping habits on a regular basis,
you can improve your quality of sleep. Some easy ways to achieve proper sleep
- Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule. If you sleep and wake at the same time daily, your body will get used
to it and you won’t be kept up all night. Your body has an internal clock, and
sticks to a pattern. If you sleep at inconsistent times, your body’s internal
clock will not stay on schedule.
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. In the past, seniors
aged 65+ were advised to get more sleep than middle-aged adults, who required
7-9 hours. Now the National Sleep Foundation recommends seniors should also get
- Keep your Alert1 help button within reach. This helps you get good quality sleep by giving you peace of mind in the
night. Alert1 advises that you always wear your help pendant, even while you sleep. But if you don’t like to wear it while sleeping,
at least keep it close on your nightstand. Sleep safe and sound, without
worrying of what might happen in the night.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress. Ensure the mattress
is right for your back and posture. You shouldn’t sleep on a mattress that is too
soft or too firm. If you cannot sleep well on your mattress, buy one that
provides comfort and support for your body.
- Fall-proof your room.
When you wake up in the night to use the bathroom, the last thing you
want is for a slip and fall to occur. Fall-proof your room by removing fall
hazards that can lurk in the darkness. Remove loose rugs and clutter like
clothes and shoes. Remember to also have night-lights installed so you always
have a lit path.
The Importance of Proper Sleep
Every senior should try their best to get enough
sleep. Proper sleep keeps your mind alert, preserves energy levels, and helps
you live life to the fullest. On top of feeling well rested, it can lower the
risk of age-related cognitive decline that is common among the elderly. Start
sleeping better today, so you can start aging in place better, every day.
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