The Myth About Needing Less Sleep as You Age
Teenagers seem to sleep an excessive amount of time, but their changing bodies need the rest. The same fact is true for seniors. It’s a myth that we need less sleep as we age and getting less sleep may actually cause a decline in brain function.
Medical scientists now know that getting the same amount of sleep you enjoyed when you were younger may help stave off age-related problems such as overall health and a decline in cognitive and memory functions.
One problem with seniors getting enough sleep is that they tend to sleep “lighter” and don’t get the same quality of sleep as before. The benefits for seniors of getting enough sleep range from staving off health problems to maintaining cognitive brain function well into the later years.
Studies show that seniors suffer from quality of sleep – but, if they maintain the quantity of sleep they once had, they can likely keep both brains and bodies healthy. When seniors get less than six hours sleep, studies indicate that the ability to remember things and perform tasks is greatly reduced.
One thing that hampers seniors’ ability to get enough sleep is the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Deep sleep is harder to achieve, therefore more sleep time may be required.
Naps during the day are a good thing for seniors, but be careful that it doesn’t interfere with the sleep you strive for during the night. Chances are, if you’re sleepy during the day, you likely need a nap.
Sleep is a requirement of healthy aging, just as a healthy diet and exercise contribute to the body and brain’s functioning. Be sure your lifestyle is conducive to getting enough sleep by limiting the amount you eat close to bedtime and the amount of alcohol you consume.
The role that sleep plays in the aging process isn’t fully understood. Some people may simply need less sleep than others. But, in most recent studies, it’s been found that health and vitality in young and old are dependent on getting enough sleep.
Sleep disorders can also play a part in the aging process. If you find yourself nodding off excessively during the day or experiencing insomnia at night, see a healthcare provider for more information on what could be a treatable condition.
Mainly, ensure a good night’s sleep by making sure your habits during the day are favorable to getting the Zs you need to stay healthy.