3 Benefits of Healthy Sleep for Seniors
We spend close to a third of our lives sleeping, and quality sleep is essential to our health. During sleep, our bodies undergo many important physiological processes like releasing hormones, repairing cells, growing tissue, storing new information in the brain, and replenishing energy.
According to the National Institute on Aging, adults over 65 need seven or more hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep can result in many unwanted consequences such as:
- Memory loss or cognitive impairment
- Increased risk of injury due to falls
Although healthy sleep is essential for everyone, as we age it becomes even more important to protect our sleep. The following are 3 of the biggest benefits of healthy sleep for seniors:
1. Good Sleep Helps You Fight Disease
Inadequate sleep can lead to certain health conditions or make them worse, and many ailments and diseases have been linked to poor sleep. The restorative biological functions that happen while we sleep keep our cells healthy, help regulate how we process glucose, and repair our muscles. Proteins that fight disease and inflammation are also produced while we sleep.
2. A Restful Night Elevates Your Mood
Throughout our sleep cycle, activity increases in the parts of our brain that regulate emotions, such as the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex. Given the proper amount of rest, these areas become more flexible and adapt more easily to situations that cause fear or anxiety. When we are sleep-deprived, however, these areas are much more likely to overreact, which can lead to stress and depression.
3. Restorative Sleep Keeps Your Brain Healthy
When we’re tired, it’s harder to concentrate. Sleep research suggests that your brain clears out toxic byproducts while you sleep and removes unnecessary information that would otherwise overwhelm your nervous system. Our abilities to learn, remember, create, solve problems, concentrate, focus, and make decisions are all affected by the amount and quality of our sleep.
Tips for Better Sleep
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, there are several things you can do during the day to help.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule – even on vacation or when traveling, try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night.
- Avoid screens for at least an hour before bed – the blue light from TVs, tablets, and phones makes you feel more alert and can interfere with falling asleep.
- Be active during the day – physical activity increases your body’s chemicals that reduce stress and anxiety, which can help you feel calmer and fall asleep faster.
- Don’t eat a large meal or drink caffeine or alcohol within 2 hours of bed – engaging your metabolism before bed will make it harder to fall asleep.
Assisted Living Benefits for Seniors
Certain health issues like Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia can sometimes disrupt sleep patterns, causing too much or too little sleep. For seniors struggling with cognitive decline and dementia, assisted living communities, like Solterra Senior Living, can help. The memory care program at Solterra provides daily assistance to meet your needs at every stage of memory loss.
Additional assisted living benefits such as daily social activities, wellness centers, chef-prepared meals, and 24/7 access to help from caring staff are all key components to maintaining high levels of physical and mental health and getting the sleep you need. Contact us today to schedule a tour or find out more about the assisted living benefits available to seniors at Solterra Senior Living.