Sleeping for a sufficient number of hours each night on a routine basis is something that is important for health at all ages, but appropriate quantity and quality of sleep can be especially important for seniors in older age.

Sleep not only contributes to promoting necessary relaxation, restoration, and rejuvenation, but is also essential for creating an opportunity for the body to undergo processes that support the fighting of illness and the promotion of healing. Many seniors encounter a variety of problems related to sleep that impede some of the vital functions that a good night’s sleep provides for physical and mental health. Building an awareness regarding the amount of sleep seniors require, the elements that might get in the way, and how best to promote good sleeping patterns can help to positively impact overall health and wellbeing for seniors in Ottawa.

How Much Sleep?

As a result of the fact that seniors are often less physically active and, therefore, might exert less energy during the day, many people believe that seniors require less sleep than they did in their younger years. The truth is, however, is that the recommended amount of sleep for adults remains pretty consistent from around age twenty through the senior years. While the number of hours of sleep that a person needs varies based on multiple factors and elements of lives and health, the majority of adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. While rhythms and schedules may change in older years, because many seniors often experience tiredness earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning, the reality is that seniors require just as much sleep as younger adults.

Sleep Troubles for Seniors

Seniors often experience troubles falling asleep and remaining asleep, and also experience impediments to getting good quality sleep through the night. While there are different stages of a good night’s sleep, the majority of the healing and restoration happens during what is referred to as REM Sleep. Seniors commonly experience a reduction in the amount of time they spend in the REM sleep stage and this can prevent them from reaping all the benefits that sleep should provide for the body and mind. Multiple factors can contribute to insomnia and other sleep impediments for seniors, such as:

  • Medications
  • Health Issues
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent Urination
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep Apnea (Interruption or Cessation of Breathing While Asleep)

All of these elements on their own can significantly alter quality of sleep, and seniors often have to deal with a combination that can make sleep increasingly challenging and unsatisfying. If poor sleeping patterns or any of the issues listed above are negatively effecting a senior’s daily life, consult a doctor to see what changes or treatments may be suitable.

Promoting Good Sleep

Proper sleep is important for seniors’ health in a whole host of ways. It can, however, be difficult for seniors to get the quality of sleep they need each night. The following are some possible strategies to help promote healthy sleep:

  • Keep Track of Behaviour: Limiting behaviours that undermine from the best sleep possible can help to give seniors the chance to get the most out of their nights. Try limiting time spent in front of a screen before bed, as well as caffeine and alcohol consumption.
  • Make It Comfortable: Creating a comfortable space that encourages a good night’s sleep is important for seniors facing sleeping problems. Try managing light, noise, and physical comfort, and anything else that might make the environment better for sleep.
  • Get to the Root: Numerous factors can contribute to a worse quality of sleep, so it can be helpful to try to figure out which of these factors are coming into play for a particular senior in order to attempt to address them. Researching the side-effects of medications or the symptoms of health problems can help to illuminate potential culprits of poor sleep.
  • Remember Emotions: Emotional factors can have a huge impact on sleep quality. If seniors are anxious, depressed, or worried, it can be harder to set thoughts aside and find enough calm to fall and stay asleep. Integrating techniques or treatments to manage mental and emotional struggles can have a positive effect on sleep patterns.
  • Move More: Adding a little physical activity into the day can help to promote longer, more complete, and better quality sleep.

Devoting some attention to the numerous factors that may be interfering with sleep for seniors, and acting to address them, can have a major impact not only on how seniors sleep, but also on how they feel in day-to-day life. Working towards better sleep is crucial for overall health, wellbeing and a higher quality of life.

Contact us today for a Free Nurse Consultation to discuss how Home Care Services can help manage and monitor proper sleep for you or a loved one.