Sleep is a very important aspect of our overall health, mental and physical. In fact, many physicians consider the amount of sleep one receives as important a barometer of health as taking your temperature. Adults and seniors who don’t receive enough sleep are more susceptible to depression, memory and attention problems, and excessive drowsiness. Furthermore, a lack of sleep is also linked to other serious medical conditions such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease, weight problems, breast cancer in women and diabetes.
No matter your age, getting the proper amount of sleep each and every night is essential to maintaining healthy mental and physical capacities. Seniors, especially, need to be mindful of the amount of sleep they get each night in order to help refresh their immune system to prevent disease, allow your body time to repair damaged cells, and improve concentration and memory formation.
How Many Hours Of Sleep Is Right For An Adult?
The requirements of sleep tends to vary from person to person, however, most adults usually require between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to function at their best. A recent study was conducted by the National Institutes of Health and they found that healthy older individuals may require between one and two hours less sleep than younger adults. It’s also very important to not get too hung up on the actual number of hours you spend sleeping, but really focus on the quality of the sleep you are getting. Quality is much more important than quantity.
As a matter of fact, some adults and seniors mistakenly believe they have a sleeping problem because they go to bed expecting to sleep eight or nine hours and don’t. This leads to them needlessly using medications to help them sleep. You must focus on how you feel after you sleep. If you feel refreshed and charged for the day, chances are you sleeping enough. Indications you may not be sleeping enough or have some sort of sleeping disorder are you frequently wake each morning feeling un-rested, sluggish and drowsy throughout the day. These problems should be addressed by a physician or a sleep expert.
How To Improve Sleep Habits
If you are feeling tired throughout the day or drowsy, don’t automatically assume you have a sleeping disorder. First you must examine your sleeping habits as they are more than likely the culprit for your tired days. An environment that promotes poor sleep is a problem that affects a vast majority of us. Also, poor daytime habits can be one of the main causes of sleep problems and low-quality sleep in adults and seniors. Most of us develop our poor habits over our lifetime and develop more bad habits as we age. Fortunately, these bad sleeping habits can be easily changed into good ones and result in improved sleep and improved overall health.
Get involved in the community and family events. Try volunteering or taking some classes that will help stimulate your activity. Increased activity can help prepare your body for a great night’s sleep.
When you exercise regularly you body releases endorphins that will help improve your mood and reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
Open The Blinds
Exposure to sunlight helps regulate the melatonin levels in your body and your sleep-wake cycles. Aim for two hours of sunlight a day. Try opening the blinds at work or at home. When you settle in to read a good book, move your favorite chair to a sunny spot.
Stay Away From Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol
Stimulants interfere with the quality of your sleep and should be avoided. Caffeine, obviously, stimulates your body to remain awake. If you must drink coffee or energy drinks, do so sparingly and not before bed.
Get A Bedtime Routine
Routines are very helpful in creating consistent, quality habits. When you develop a system, things are likely to go smoothly. This holds true with your sleeping habits as well.
Stick To A Sleep Schedule
Develop a schedule for sleep and stick to it. Go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time every day. Weekends too. This gets your body in a routine and prepares your mind and body that it is time to go to sleep and time to wake up.
Develop A Bedtime Ritual
Get in the habit of doing the same thing each night before you lie down to go to sleep. For instance, you can take a warm bath to relax, play soothing music without lyrics, or practice relaxation techniques. All of these things will help your mind and body relax and recognize it’s bedtime.
Examine Your Sleeping Area
The area in which we sleep each night is often overlooked and is one of the most important aspects, all things considered, of our overall sleep quality. Review each part of your bedroom and how it might affect your sleep. Light, noise, temperature, mattress, pillow, sheets, and pets.
Update Your Mattress
The mattress you sleep on can often times be the biggest offender when it comes to disturbances and being uncomfortable during sleep. The average life of a mattress is about 8 years and if yours is older than that, it’s time to replace it. Mattresses For Less is a leader in providing the top name brand mattresses such as Serta, Simmons, iComfort, Comforpedic and Restonic. Mattresses For Less is also the adjustable bed headquarters with the largest selection of adjustable bases and mattresses in Houston, Texas.
Remove extra noise, light and heat from your bedroom. Turn off the TV when falling asleep or remove it from the bedroom altogether. A TV can cause your mind to focus on the show and not on falling asleep. Cover your windows with blinds and curtains to block out unwanted light. Set the air conditioner on a comfortable temperature. Having it too hot or too cold can cause restlessness and disturbance in your sleep.
Again, it can not be stressed enough that sleep is vital to our health. No matter your age, you must gain quality sleep each and every night in order to maintain peak performance throughout the day. So, we hope these tips will aid those experiencing sleeping issues and provide some guidance to help them get back on track and catching some quality z’s. Don’t forget that an old mattress can often times be the biggest problem to a person’s sleep.