sleep betterAre you getting enough sleep? Seven to eight hours is the amount of sleep adults need to lead a healthy life. However, data from a National Health Interview Survey found that 30 percent of adults get less than six hours of sleep each night.

While it’s been reported that sleep needs change as we age, science has shown that the amount of sleep we need stays relatively constant. Today, sleep deprivation is a real problem among adults and seniors, and it can lead to some serious issues, too. According to the American Sleep Association, side effects of sleep deprivation include excessive daytime sleepiness, moodiness, hunger, accidents cause by lack of attention, weight gain or weight loss and depression. It is even linked to diabetes and deficits in memory and attention. But sleep deprivation can be prevented. Here’s how.

Partake in Regular Exercise

Exercise is important to our health, but did you know that exercise can help you sleep better, too? It doesn’t matter when or how you exercise, just as long as you are partaking in daily physical activity. People who work out on a daily basis not only sleep better at night, they sleep for longer periods of time.

Avoid Caffeine

Aging often requires that we make changes to our diet. The same goes for caffeine intake. Caffeine can last up to six hours in our bodies before it wears off. Experts from the National Sleep Foundation recommend cutting out coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the afternoon so that you can allow your body to wind down for bedtime later. Cutting out the caffeine is good sleep hygiene, which is vital for both physical and mental health.

Design a Bedroom Conducive to Sleep

Your bedroom plays an important role in how well and how long you sleep each night. Items like fresh sheets and a sound conditioner may help you sleep better. Light-blocking shades and curtains or a new mattress may do the trick, too.

Enjoy the Sunshine

Regular exposure to natural light helps you maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle. As we age, it is important to ensure that we get enough exposure to natural light. This is especially true for seniors who do not venture outside very often.

Consider Sleep Trackers

While you may not want to wear a sleep tracker on your wrist while you sleep, as it could potentially keep you up or make your uncomfortable, you may want to consider using a sleep-tracking mattress pad. Simply place the pad under your mattress and above your box spring, and let the sleep tracking begin. This way you can get an insight into your sleep patterns. There is also an alarm that can be used with the mattress pad, and the sleep tracking mattress pad can even monitoring noise and light in the room, helping you make the connections between waking up and lost sleep.

Avoid Long Daytime Naps

Contrary to popular belief, napping does not make up for lost sleep. However, short naps, between 20 and 30 minutes, can boost your mood and your alertness during the daytime.

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