The Art of Aging and Sleep
Sleep and aging may seem like an oxymoron for many in their 50’s and 60’s. Studies tell us that sleep is important to age well, yet as we age our ability to get a good night’s sleep becomes a struggle. Many factors impact our sleep – hormone imbalance is one of the major factors. We have vetted the top resources on aging and sleep.
Sleep and Aging
Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But, older people tend to go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than they did when they were younger.
There are many reasons why older people may not get enough sleep at night. Feeling sick or being in pain can make it hard to sleep. Some medicines can keep you awake. No matter the reason, if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, the next day you may:
- Be irritable
- Have memory problems or be forgetful
- Feel depressed
- Have more falls or accidents
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Being older doesn’t mean you have to be tired all the time. You can do many things to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Here are some ideas:
- Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when you are traveling.
- Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening, if you can. Naps may keep you awake at night.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Take time to relax before bedtime each night. Some people read a book, listen to soothing music, or soak in a warm bath.
- Try not to watch television or use your computer, cell phone, or tablet in the bedroom. The light from these devices may make it difficult for you to fall asleep. And alarming or unsettling shows or movies, like horror movies, may keep you awake.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
- Use low lighting in the evenings and as you prepare for bed.
- Exercise at regular times each day but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.
- Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime—they can keep you awake.
- Stay away from caffeine late in the day. Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate) can keep you awake.
- Remember—alcohol won’t help you sleep. Even small amounts make it harder to stay asleep.
- These are sound suggestions to improve sleep. Avoid napping and remove all electronic devices from the bedroom are difficult habits to break, but important to improve sleep.
- No matter your age, hormone imbalance may create a cascade of several symptoms – impacting your sleep. In many cases, balancing hormone levels may improve overall health, reducing pain and illness.
If you are struggling with your sleep and desire improved health, complete the new patient form and schedule your 20-minute complimentary consult with Dr. Hope Engsberg.