How Important is Sleep As You Age?
There’s a common myth out there that sleep isn’t very important as you age. Just the opposite of that is true. As a senior, getting enough sleep is critical to being healthy and that in turn translates into a better quality of life. Sleeping gives our bodies time to rest and recharge. Physically, sleep deprivation has a negative effect on our reflexes, judgement, and fine motor skills. It has also been linked to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Seniors who don’t get enough sleep are much more likely to have depressed moods. Just as important, a lack of sleep will decrease the ability to focus and make it hard to learn new things efficiently. Our brains require that we have sufficient sleep so that we can not only absorb information but also recall it. The brain can actually age by up to seven years as a result of a lack of sleep.
A variety of issues can cause sleep deprivation in seniors:
*Due to health problems and a combination of medications, insomnia becomes common.
*Often, frequent trips to the bathroom at night are caused by prostate enlargement in men or incontinence issues in women.
*As seniors get older they often develop “advanced sleep phase syndrome”. Their internal clock makes them sleepy earlier in the evening and wakes them earlier in the morning.
*With age comes an increase in sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Remember that healthy and sufficient sleep should be expected at all ages, even with seniors. In fact, seniors need just as much sleep as young adults, about 7-9 hours per night. How has a lack of sleep affected you? Share below.
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