Sleep is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle, and whether you live in an assisted living community or at home, getting healthy sleep is an essential habit to prioritize. Seniors need a certain amount of sleep in order to remain physically, mentally, and cognitively healthy.
Seniors over the age of 65 should aim to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. However, the sleep you need may vary slightly depending on your unique needs. So, if you feel completely refreshed after 6 hours, that may be enough to remain healthy. Living spaces designed for comfort and health should also be created to help make it easier to get restful sleep.
The Importance of Sleep for Older Adults
Healthy sleep shouldn’t be considered a luxury, and for older adults, it can be an absolute necessity. Sleep plays a pivotal role in overall health, including physical, mental, and cognitive health. Unfortunately, as we age, our sleep patterns can naturally change, and we may find ourselves facing various sleep-related challenges.
At any age, the importance of sleep can’t be overstated. Sleep is absolutely essential for:
- Mental, physical, and cognitive health
- A healthy immune system
- The body’s ability to repair itself and heal
- Stress management
- Emotional stability
Sleep is one of the most critical parts of remaining healthy as you get older—even though many seniors find getting sleep challenging. It’s essential to do what you can to get the right amount of sleep—so you can give yourself a better chance of staying healthy.
How Much Sleep Is Right for Seniors?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 65 and older should get 7–8 hours of sleep per night. It’s important to note, though, that every person’s body is different.
So, if you feel fresh, alert, and ready to go after just 6 hours of sleep, you may be okay. But if you find yourself exhausted every morning and lethargic during the day, you should make it a priority to change your sleep schedule in a way that can better prepare you for tomorrow.
Taking steps to get enough sleep and avoid sleep deprivation can have lasting positive effects on your long-term health.
The Benefits of a Proper Sleep Schedule
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is one of the best ways to wake up well-rested. Routine, healthy sleep can provide a lot of benefits, including:
- Improved mood
- Increased energy levels
- A boosted immune system
- An improved ability to stay focused
- Better physical health
A consistent sleep schedule can also help regulate your body’s internal clock and help you fall asleep and wake up more easily. So, the sooner you arrange and commit to a proper sleep schedule, the easier you may find it to fall—and stay—asleep!
Common Sleep Problems Seniors Face
Unfortunately, as we age, it’s common to begin experiencing some form of problem that has an impact on our sleep. Sleep problems are common, and many of them can be addressed.
The common sleep problems seniors face include:
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Medical conditions that may cause pain when lying down, like arthritis or bone conditions
Sleep disorders can often be caused by medical problems, so if you or a senior loved one are experiencing significant sleep problems, consider speaking with a medical professional. Sleep is essential, so you should try to get the care you need to get the sleep you deserve!
How Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Sleep
While medical conditions require a professional touch, there are some small adjustments you can make to your lifestyle that may be able to help improve your sleep, such as:
- Establishing a consistent routine before going to bed
- Limiting your naps during the day so you’re ready to sleep at night
- Limiting your screen time before going to bed
- Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, as it may stay in your system for longer than expected
- Staying hydrated
- Managing your stress levels
If you’re noticing noise is a huge problem when you’re trying to sleep, try investing in a white noise machine, which can often drown out environmental noise that may otherwise disturb you.
How to Improve Your Sleep Schedule
It can be particularly useful to create a set environment for sleep. Try the following strategies for creating a good sleep environment:
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool
- Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Use blackout curtains to block out outside light
- Choose soothing colors and decor for your room
You can also try to limit the time you spend in bed, which can help you subconsciously associate your bed with just sleep. Try not to work, read, watch TV, or eat in bed!
Supporting for Healthy Senior Living
Remember, good sleep is not a luxury—it is a necessity. Sleep plays an important role in cognitive function, physical capabilities, and mental health. At The Legacy at Crystal Falls, we know how important sleep is for older adults, and we’re here to help each and every resident get a good night’s sleep. Book a tour with us today to learn more!