Seniors don’t need fewer hours of sleep than the average adult. This common misconception likely developed because sleep patterns alter as people age. Seniors should strive for a solid eight hours of sleep per night for a variety of reasons that could affect their overall health.
The Regenerative Powers of Sleep
When the body is asleep, it’s performing several essential processes. Cells are regenerated, and blood is cleansed of the impurities it’s accumulated during the day. The human growth hormone is secreted, and the appetite hormone is regulated. The brain creates new pathways for the information learned and the memories created during the day.
Caring for a loved one with an irregular sleep cycle can be overwhelming, as it disrupts the caregiver’s own sleeping pattern as well. Families who need help taking care of their senior family members can turn to Home Care Assistance Palm Desert. One of our trusted caregivers can encourage your loved one to adopt healthier habits and help him or her age in place safely and comfortably.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
When seniors don’t get enough sleep, it can be hazardous to their health. Their energy levels diminish, and their appetite increases. They may face challenges with memory and concentration. If sleep deprivation goes on for too long, it can take a physical and mental toll. Sleep-deprived seniors are more susceptible to depression and anxiety, and they’re also at higher risk for obesity, high blood pressure, and a myriad of other conditions.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elder care. Palm Desert families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Changes to the Senior Sleep Cycle
As seniors age, the body begins to produce less melatonin. This hormone is responsible for regulating the body’s internal clock, and without it the body may not have an instinctive awareness of when it’s time to sleep. Nighttime sleep may also be affected by heightened sensitivity. Seniors often find they sleep more lightly than they used to and small noises or environmental changes are enough to wake them up in the middle of the night.
Inadequate sleep can also be caused by medical conditions. For example, if seniors have arthritis or heartburn, they may be kept up at night due to pain. Aging adults are also at risk for developing sleep disorders. With breathing disorders like sleep apnea, seniors have difficulty breathing throughout the night, which causes them to wake up at frequent intervals and leaves them feeling drowsy the next day. There are also movement disorders such as restless legs syndrome, which impacts over 20 percent of people aged 80 and older. This condition, which is characterized by an uncomfortable tingling sensation in the legs, makes it difficult to fall asleep.
When seniors aren’t sleeping, it’s a sign something needs to change. If they have a sleep disorder like apnea, they may require medical assistance. Oftentimes, poor sleep can be rectified with a few lifestyle adjustments. Light sleepers should modify their environment, ensuring it’s as quiet and dark as possible. Tech-savvy seniors should power down all devices an hour before bedtime, as staring at screens can disrupt the sleep cycle. Seniors should also develop soothing nighttime habits. Meditating for ten minutes can help seniors get in the mood for sleep, and reading a chapter of a novel is a better pre-sleep activity than scrolling through phone notifications.
A professional caregiver can encourage your loved one to become more physically active, which may alleviate chronic sleep conditions. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional 24-hour care. Palm Desert seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To create a customized care plan for your aging loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (760) 345-0001 today.