We all love the sight of bed and pillows!
Getting a good amount of sleep is very important to our physical and emotional health. It’s one of those small-but-mighty secrets.
Insomnia, or not being able to sleep, going to bed early, waking up early, or having less sleep, feeling not refreshed in the morning - elders go through these changes as they grow older.
You don’t get just one disorder that’s related to ageing, there are a spectrum of disorders, and it could well be related to your sleep hygiene.
The consequences from lack of sleep can sometimes be devastating – you become so drowsy, depressed, you start forgetting things or have problems focusing.
Not to mention, you are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Truth be told, a good night’s sleep is so very important to older adults. It helps improve their concentration and memory formation
It not only allows your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day, but refreshes your immune system, which in turn helps you from falling sick.
So, how does ageing affect your sleep?
As you grow older, the product of growth hormone in your body gradually becomes lesser and lesser, which can lead to a decrease in deep sleep.
You produce less melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles, leading to more fragmented sleep and you end up waking up more often during the night.
A chronic medical condition can also cause decline in your sleep. For instance, high blood pressure is associated with both snoring and sleep apnea.
Other conditions that can interfere with sleep include a frequent need to urinate, diabetes, osteoporosis, nighttime heartburn, pain, arthritis, asthma, and Alzheimer's disease.
In addition, many menopausal and post-menopausal women experience symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats that can interrupt their sleep.
Older people tend to take a lot of medications. Certain combination of drugs, as well as their side-effects, can impair the sleep pattern.
A good sleep hygiene is a simple and an effective fix!
It refers to a number of things you can do to improve your quality of sleep.
Before you ask for a sleeping pill....
No matter what type of sleep issue you may have, you can improve your sleep by choosing healthier daytime habits, by addressing emotional issues, and by modifying your sleep environment.
Make it a point to work on your sleep hygiene. To begin with, have a regular bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities like deep breathing or taking a bath.
Also, ensure your bedroom is quiet, cool, dark, and you have a comfortable bed to sleep on.
Turn off the TV and avoid reading from a backlit device at least one hour before bed. This will boost your melatonin levels; having this natural hormone allows your body and brain know when it is time to sleep.
Try to aim for two hours of bright sunlight a day. If you have a problem getting outdoors, keep the curtains open during the day. Bright sunlight is known to help regulate your melatonin levels.
Short naps during the day might also help, but make sure you take your siestas early in the day so that they don’t interfere with your nighttime sleep.
Most people tend to think chronic insomnia and daytime drowsiness are an unavoidable consequence of ageing. Due to this mindset, too many sleep problems in older adults go undiagnosed and untreated.
You need to feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning and for the you deserve a good night’s rest!