If you're finding it harder to get a good night's sleep as you get older, you're not alone.
The problem isn't just an annoyance; not getting enough sleep and/or poor sleep quality are risks to your health, particularly as an older adult. Here's how it can affect your health, why sleep problems are so common in older adults, and what you can do about it.
The CDC recommends that adults between 18 and 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and those 65 and older get seven to eight hours. Yet, according to CDC data, 26.1% of all adults 65 and older in the United States report sleeping for less than seven hours per night on average.
What are some of the reasons older adults struggle with sleep? The most common factors include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, arthritis, side effects of medications, and even changes in the body's internal clock.
It's not just the number of hours you sleep, though, it's also the quality of the sleep you get that's important. Signs of poor sleep quality are taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep after getting into bed, repeatedly waking during the night, and/or feeling tired after sleeping seven to eight hours.
You may be surprised to learn that the health risks of not getting enough good sleep rival those of physical inactivity. In the short term, sleep deprivation can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, moodiness, impaired memory and concentration, lack of alertness, and even a greater likelihood of falls and car accidents. In the long term, it can put you at risk for the following.
Now that you know why getting a good night's sleep is so important for older adults, the question is, what can you do to improve your sleep habits? These tips can help:
Older adults can certainly follow these tips for a good night's sleep at home, but in a senior living community, they may find it even easier to follow through on them because the environment in senior living communities like ours is designed specifically to help older adults thrive. We can help you maintain proper nutrition and stay active, maintain social connections, and live purposefully, all of which can help you regulate a sleep schedule and minimize napping. Not to mention the added peace of mind that comes from safe, comfortable surroundings where support and convenience are always at hand.