8 Reasons Why Sleep is Important for the Elderly

Some need it more while others need it less, but almost everyone has to sleep to stay healthy and fit. After all, our body performs numerous vital functions all day including digestion, assimilation, blood circulation, etc. which is why it needs a good amount of rest on a regular basis.

Medical norms dictate that adults must get sleep of up to 7-8 hours and it’s the same for the elderly as well. Unfortunately, something as natural and relaxing as sleeping can become a challenge as we grow older. Things like medication and anxiety can cause sleep disorders or even insomnia. If you are facing difficulty in sleeping yourself, then you can follow the tips share at the end of the blog. But first, let’s take a look at eight big reasons why sleep is so important for you in the first place:

 

Sleep Reduces Stress

Many seniors develop general anxiety due to age and/or health problems. However, it can only make things worse as your blood-pressure increases considerably when you are under constant stress which is not good for your health. By getting a good night’s sleep, however, you can be more at ease and carefree.

 

Sleep Improves Memory

It’s no secret that our memory starts to lose its capacity with age. In fact, scientists believe that memory loss can begin from the age of 45 itself (WhiteHall II). So, when you are in your mid-50s or older, then you need to make an extra effort to keep your memory sharp. Fortunately, just by getting enough sleep you can do a lot in that endeavour.

 

Sleep Can Keep Depression at Bay

A study of about 1,000 adults in a Michigan health maintenance organisation found that those who had sleep disorders were four times more likely to develop depression against normal sleepers. Since the elderly are already more prone to mental health conditions, it’s important that you get uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis.

 

Sleep Helps Your Body to Heal

Your body takes its share of damage every day due to exposure to UV rays, pollution, and other environmental factors. Sleep is the time when it gets to reverse these damages and heal the cells. This is because your body produces more skin cells at night compared to the day. The breakdown of proteins which are the building blocks of cell growth is also much slower during deep sleep. So, if you want your skin to be healthy, then quality sleep is essential.

 

Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Heart Diseases

A review of several studies has found a link between sleep duration and the risk of heart diseases. It says that who don’t get sufficient sleep are at a much greater risk of suffering from heart disorders like cardiac arrest or hypertension than those who get 7-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Since the risk of heart problems increases drastically at the age of 45 and above, you need sufficient sleep more than any other age group.

 

Sleep Improves Immunity

Improves Immunity

Do you get affected from cold or flu more often than others? If your answer is 'yes', then maybe you should review your sleep patterns. This is because inadequate sleep has been found to affect the immune system as it alters the natural and cellular immune function.

 

Lack of Sleep Enhances Inflammation

Lack of sleep can cause cell damage and inflammation and worsen certain conditions like Psoriasis or Rheumatoid Arthritis both of which are autoimmune in nature. In a particular study, it was found that people who have Crohn's disease are twice as likely to relapse as those who get adequate sleep. So, if you want to prevent inflammation-sensitive diseases or lessen the impact if you have one already, then you have all the more reason to get good sleep.

 

Sleep Reduces the Risk of Type-II Diabetes

Bad sleeping patterns can affect how our body processes sugar and may increase the risk of type-II diabetes. In several studies, healthy individuals were allowed only 4-5 hours of sleep for up to a week. It was found that insulin sensitivity was drastically reduced in them which proves that lack of sleep can increase the risk of insulin-related conditions which include type-II diabetes.

 

Tips for Sleeping Better

• Create a routine that works for you by going to sleep and waking up at a fixed time. Within 2 weeks, your body will get used to it and make it easy for you to sleep

• Taking a warm bath before going to bed can relax your muscles and let sleep come to you effortlessly

• If you like to take naps throughout the day, then it can be difficult to sleep at night. Thus, try to avoid naps whenever possible

• If you often find yourself waking up in the middle of the night for urination, then it can come in the way of getting deep sleep. Thus, you should avoid drinking fluids during the hour before you go to bed.

Sleep is an important part of your regular life. It’s the time when you can relax both mentally and physically. So, ensure to make every second count.