No matter what age you are, sleep is crucial for your body. In fact, you can’t survive without sleep. Sleep is essential for seniors because it supports physical and mental health. It helps repair and rejuvenate the body, enhances cognitive function, and contributes to overall well-being, which is especially important as individuals age and face various health challenges. Unfortunately, sometimes a senior doesn’t sleep well, or they don’t focus on creating a healthy routine before bed, so they struggle to fall asleep. If a senior needs help setting up a nighttime routine while aging in place, they should turn to home care to get more help in this area. If they have a nighttime routine set up and still have trouble falling and staying asleep, they should be seeing a doctor for more help.
Here are all the reasons why sleep is so important for a senior:
What Happens to the Body During Sleep?
During sleep, the body undergoes several essential processes. Firstly, it progresses through various sleep cycles, including REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM stages, critical for memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and learning. Secondly, the body uses this time to repair and regenerate tissues, release growth hormones, and strengthen the immune system. Finally, the brain clears waste products like beta-amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, helping to maintain cognitive health. This is why sleep is so crucial for your loved one to be getting, and it should not be put on the back burner. If they need help getting to bed or preparing for the night, they should be talking to home care for extra help.
What Causes a Senior to Sleep Less?
As someone gets older, their sleeping habits may change, but that does not mean they should sleep less. For example, if your loved one used to fall asleep at 10pm every night, they may find they like to go to bed earlier, closer to 8:30pm every night, and wake up earlier. They should be getting the same amount of sleep no matter their age because it is crucial for them to be healthy and to age in place for much longer. If there are drastic shifts like staying up all night and sleeping during the day, this could be a sign of Dementia, and they will need to talk to a doctor for more help.
Health Risks from Lack of Sleep
Believe it or not, there are tons of risks when your senior loved one is not sleeping, and they can be detrimental to their health. Here are some risks to think about.
- Cognitive Impairment – During the deepest parts of sleep your brain shuts down and restores itself. This is crucial to repair any damage from the day and feel fresh the next day. It helps them stay cognitive throughout the day.
- Weakened Immune System – The less your senior sleeps, the less their body can produce antibodies, which means they are more likely to get colds and flu. If they are sleeping less than six hours each night, they are more likely to get sick.
- Risk of Obesity – When your seniors can’t stay asleep, their body can’t maintain their weight, and they may start craving sugary foods.
- Risk of Diabetes – Seniors who do not sleep end up with whacky hormone levels, which could impact diabetes, or they may end up getting diabetes in the future.