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Why Is A Good Sleep Routine Important For Seniors?

Sleep is vital to our body, just as eating, breathing and drinking are important to our bodies. Sleep is essential to preserve good physical and mental health, and sleep is important as it helps us recover from any sort of physical and mental exertion.

The importance of sleep does not vary with age, and it is important when you are a baby, a toddler, an adolescent, an adult and a senior citizen. Getting a good night’s sleep helps with cognitive functions as it improves concentration and memory building. It also allows your body to correct any cell damage that happens during the day. In addition, it also recharges your immune system, which in turn helps to eliminate any forms of diseases.

 

What are the 5 Benefits of Sleep?

Here are some of the benefits of sleep:

 

1. Sleeping prevents sickness

Getting a proper amount of sleep every night gives the body the rest it needs. When your sleep pattern is regular and sufficient for your body, the chances of falling sick also drop. For example, when you are suffering from a fever, you take a rest, and you sleep. Sleep gives your body the rest it needs.

 

2. Reduces the risk of health issues

Getting the right amount of sleep makes your body less vulnerable to health issues and helps build a proper immune system. Sufficient sleep every night can also reduce the risk of health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

 

3. Sleep has a positive effect on our mental health

Sleep improves our cognitive functions, and it improves our mood. Stress can also be reduced to a certain extent if you sleep. We interact with people in a better manner when we have gotten the right amount of sleep.

 

4. Helps be productive

Sleeping well has a positive result on the work we do and how we do it. We feel more ready to be productive and complete activities after a good sleep or nap as it helps us focus better and enhances our concentration. We do better and excellent at school or work as rest makes us more energetic.

 

5. Aids in making rational decisions

If we don’t sleep properly, we could make rash decisions hastily that have serious consequences. When we don’t get enough sleep, we are grouchy and don’t think clearly. We make good decisions when we get good sleep and prevent injuries and accidents. Countless lives are lost due to road accidents caused by drivers who are tired and sleepy. We could when we walk if we are drowsy and sleepy.

 

How Long Can You Go Without Sleep?

The record for the longest time without sleep is about 11 full days or 264 hours. There is no proof of how long a human can survive without sleep. When you don’t sleep for a long period, your body starts to show signs of sleep deprivation. No sleep for more than two nights can make you begin to hallucinate.

It is more difficult for older adults to go without sleep for a long time as it affects their physical and mental health.

 

What Happens When You Sleep Too Much?

Sleeping too much daily could lead to an increased risk of diabetes, being prone to heart disease, stroke and even death, according to research conducted over several years. Anything more than nine hours of sleep is too much, and one of the most common causes is not getting enough sleep the night before or consecutively during the week.

As per a study, around 20% of older adults experience extreme amounts of daytime sleepiness. This is mostly a sign of an underlying health condition rather than merely old age and tiredness. More senior adults experience excessive daytime sleepiness may be a symptom of health issues such as sleep apnea or cardiovascular problems.

 

How Many Hours of Sleep do Older Adults Require?

The amount of sleep you need varies with age. Here is detailed information about the number of hours of sleep required per age group:

 Age Group- NamesAge GroupNumber of hours of sleep in a day recommended
 Newborn0 to 3  months14 to 17 hours
 Infants4 to 12 months12 to 16 hours
 Toddlers1 to 2 years11 to 14 hours
 Pre Schooler3 to 5 years10 to 13 hours
School-going age6 to 12 years9 to 12 hours
Teenager13 to 18 years8 to 10 hours
 Adults18 to 60 years7 or more hours
 Senior Citizens61 to 64 years7 to 9 hours
 Super Senior Citizens65 years or older7 to 8 hours

What Triggers Sleep?

Our brain has two hemispheres, just like planet Earth. A gland called the pineal gland is situated in between the brain’s two hemispheres. This gland receives alerts from other nerve cells and boosts the production of the sleep hormone called melatonin, which puts you to sleep once it is dark.

This is why our smalled neuron networks send signals and messages to the pineal gland when it becomes dark at night. This gland triggers and activates the release of the chemical and sleep hormone called melatonin. Melatonin makes you feel sleepy and will make you want to go to bed.

 

Why is Good Sleep Hygiene Important for Adults?

Sleep is important for everyone, irrespective of age, whether young or old, as it impacts our physical and emotional well-being. Most of the time, older adults do not sleep well due to numerous reasons. They are more likely to suffer from health issues such as memory and attention problems, depression, excessive daytime sleepiness and less sleep during the night.

Older adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep or insufficient sleep can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia among older adults. Having a good sleep routine can reduce and further eliminate sleep disorders.

 

How can Older Adults have a Good Sleep Regimen?

Here are some ways to have a regular bedtime routine:

  • Consistency

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is important, and it is vital to wake up at the same time every day, including on the weekends. This consistency has a positive impact on our body, and once the body gets used to a consistent routine, it automatically keeps a biological clock.

  • Prevent snoring

Sometimes snoring can prevent sleep, and it can be a disturbance to our sleep. You can try using ear plugs or a white noise machine or sleep in different bedrooms.

  • Early to bed

Going to bed earlier than your usual bedtime timings can be adjusted even if you are not feeling it. This tricks your body into falling asleep over time.

  • Bedtime rituals

Having nighttime routines before you fall asleep can be soothing. The bedtime routine can include taking a hot bath, listening to music, and practising techniques for relaxation such as meditation for mindfulness or deep breathing. Having a slow and soothing routine can calm your nerves and body and mind and make you feel sleepy.

  • Restrict the number of sleeping pills and sleep aids

Most of the time, sleep aids have a negative impact on our health in the long run if used continuously. Sleeping pills haven’t proved to cure or reduce insomnia. It has made insomnia worse among people.

  • Cuddling

Sleeping with your partner while hugging or cuddling can result in a night of restful sleep.

 

Does a Sleep Schedule Matter among Older Adults?

Yes. Our body sets a “biological clock”. This biological clock is as per the pattern of daylight where you reside. It helps the body get sleepy at night naturally and be productive and alert during the day.

Sometimes sleeping can be hard when you travel to a different time zone or when your work time is at night, and you sleep during the day. These could trigger your biological clock.

 

What is a Sleep Disorder?

Sleep disorders refer to conditions that change the pattern of sleep. It can have an impact on both your physical and emotional health and your quality of life, and it can also increase the risk of other health problems.

 

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Disorders among Older Adults?

Here are the symptoms of sleep disorders among older adults:

  • Staying asleep for a longer period or having trouble falling asleep
  • Feeling tired and exhausted even after a good night’s sleep
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day poses a challenge while doing daily activities like concentrating at school or work or driving
  • Snoring, especially snoring loudly and frequently at night.
  • Feeling a bit tingly or something crawling on your legs and arms at night feels better when you move around or massage that specific area
  • Feeling stuck or not being able to move when you wake up
  • Gasping while sleeping or pauses in breathing while sleeping

 

What are Some of the Examples of Sleep Disorders?

Here are some examples of sleeping disorders:

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that prevents you from falling asleep and keeps you up all night.

2. Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is a blockage in the airflow when you sleep.

3. Sleepwalking

This is the state of the body which wakes up in the middle of sleep. You wake up in the middle of the night and start walking.

4. Excessive daytime sleepiness

This is excessive sleepiness during the day and failing to fall asleep at night.

 

Conclusion

Sleep is an extremely important part of our lives. We need to function well. Getting the right amount of sleep is also vital. Sleeping too much or too little can have negative effects on our bodies and mind. Sleeping for about 7 to 8 hours daily can improve our bodily and cognitive functions and make us feel recharged. A good sleep makes us feel rejuvenated and ready to do all sorts of productive work. Sleeping well also reduces the risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. An obscene

amount of sleep can lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep paralysis, narcolepsy, night terror and sleepwalking.

Sleep is an important part of the routines of older adults. Senior citizens need rest most of the time due to their age. Thus, getting the right amount of sleep helps them physically and mentally. Having a good sleep routine has a positive impact on their daily lives. Hence, sleep is important irrespective of your age.

 

FAQs

Why should you sleep?

Sleep is an essential part of our routine as it helps our mind and body to relax, and it helps the body to recharge and rejuvenate. A good amount of sleep or nap can make you feel energised and recharged. Sleep is also important as it reduces the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes to a certain extent.

Is it okay to sleep for 12 hours a day?

It is often said that individuals need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. But certain people need more sleep to feel well-rested. People who sleep regularly more than the average person their age are known as Long Sleepers. For adults, their length of sleep at night tends to be between 10 to 12 hours as this sleep is very normal and of good quality.

Which nerve is responsible for sleep?

There is one neuron inside our brain called the vagus nerve. It is Latin for the word wandering. This nerve begins at the brain, wanders around right near our ear canal, and then goes to almost every other major organ in our body system. This nerve is also responsible for the quality of sleep we get.

Why is REM sleep important?

REM sleep is an important stage of your sleep cycle as it boosts parts of your brain that are vital in making memories or retaining them and learning.

What are some of the sleep disorders that are known?

Sleep disorders result from changes in sleep patterns or when the sleep is not regular or sufficient. Some examples of sleep disorders are insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep paralysis, narcolepsy, night terror and sleepwalking.

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