Top Tips for Seniors Seeking a Good Night’s Sleep
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Top Tips for Seniors Seeking
a Good Night’s Sleep
For many of us, our quality of sleep can drop off as we grow older. However, along with the loss of a good night’s sleep, we can also lose our quality of life. Here is how to sleep better so you can be your best.
Lost Sleep Is Damaging
Adults require between seven and nine hours of quality sleep each night. When you don’t get enough sleep, your mind and body suffer in many ways. As explained by Reader’s Digest, your brain doesn’t function as well when you try to run on too little sleep. Your ability to problem-solve, make quick decisions, think clearly and reasonably, and retain and retrieve memories can be impaired. Most of us realize we can become cranky when we lack sleep, but you might be surprised to know you are also more inclined to feel depressed and make bad choices. Too little sleep can make your driving skills drop off, even turning you into a hazard on the road. Going without sufficient sleep can also impair your physical health, damage your heart, cause you to gain weight. Your immune system might not function as well, making you more apt to get sick. Your energy levels and sex drive can also drop off. Some studies indicate you might even shorten your life by routinely getting insufficient sleep.
There are a number of physical reasons for poor sleep. If you find you are taking sleep aids routinely, having trouble staying awake during the day, or experiencing some of the damaging effects of insufficient sleep, you should talk to your physician about getting tested for a medical condition that could be contributing to sleeplessness.
Some of the most common physical conditions contributing to seniors’ poor sleep are:
- Sleep apnea. Many people experience sleep apnea, a condition in which you stop breathing while sleeping. Sleep apnea is linked with a number of other issues, such as asthma, acid reflux, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- Periodic limb movement disorder. Periodic limb movement disorder, or PLMD, refers to the involuntary twitching, flexing, or jerking of your body’s limbs during light sleep. The condition only occurs while asleep and is usually first noticed by someone’s partner. PLMD is sometimes linked with conditions such as anemia, narcolepsy, iron deficiency, and diabetes mellitus.
- Restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, causes people to experience unpleasant sensations in their legs that trigger movement. Those with RLS report burning, tingling, aching, pain and cramps in their legs, and the condition is sometimes linked with such conditions as Parkinson’s disease, iron deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Medicare often covers testing for sleep disorders, including a number of “medically necessary” sleep study options. Doctors use sleep studies to determine the physical issues causing poor sleep. For example, you could receive coverage for testing such as a multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) or maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT). Depending on the results of your tests, Medicare also covers some treatments, such as the use of a CPAP machine, which can help if your breathing is inhibited.
Improve Your Habits
You may not realize it, but according to The Laconia Daily Sun, you may be doing things which hinder your ability to sleep. Here are some factors to consider:
- Set a strict time for bed and stick to it every night.
- Establish a bedtime routine to help your mind and body unwind before sleep.
- Avoid smoking within eight hours of bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine eight hours before bedtime.
- Make your bedroom a place for sleep only.
- Ensure you’re sleeping on a high-quality mattress.
- Avoid large meals or snacks right before bedtime.
- Ensure you are getting enough exercise.
- Spend a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes in the sun daily.
Good Night, Sleep Tight
There are many reasons you might not be sleeping well. Ensure you get proper treatment for any contributing medical conditions, and improve your habits that may be taking away from your ability to sleep. With a few smart changes, a good night’s sleep can be yours!