There are many misconceptions around the idea of sleep. The most popular being the older you get the less sleep is needed. This myth seems to reign true to many Americans, because studies show that more than 30% of the population of America suffers from insomnia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 65 and older need to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Decreases in the amount of sleep you get per night as you age can affect your memory formation, concentration, not allowing your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day, depression, excessive daytime sleepiness, and experience more nighttime falls.
What we have seen in many of our clients is the problem of night time falls. Many of our clients complain of not experiencing that “deep sleep” during the night, which allows them to wake up during the night to occupy themselves or tire themselves out. According to helpguide.org “as we get older our body produces lower levels of growth hormone, so you’ll likely experience a decrease in slow wave or deep sleep (an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle). When this happens you produce less melatonin, meaning you’ll often experience more fragmented sleep and wake up more often during the night.”
Improve Sleeping Habits
A solution to combat this is by naturally boosting your metalation levels. To do this there two common methods people practice, one is taking melatonin supplements that are natural and come in gummy or smaller tablets for you to take before you go to bed. Another great method is switching to low-wattage bulbs and turning off the TV and computer at least one hour before bed. Artificial lights at night can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy.
Since everyone is different especially when it comes to their sleeping habits, here are a number of ways to help you combat and overtime your insomnia and lessen your sleep disturbances.
1.Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, and your bed is comfortable. We often become more sensitive to noise as we age, and light and heat can also cause sleep problems. Using a sound machine, ear plugs, or a sleep mask can help.
2.Be consistent with your sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.
3.Go to bed earlier. Adjust your bedtime to match when you feel like going to bed, even if that’s earlier than it used to be.
4.Develop soothing bedtime rituals. Taking a bath, playing music, or practicing a relaxation technique such as meditation or deep breathing can help you wind down before bed.
5.Taking Naps during the day. Most people benefit from limiting naps to 15-45 minutes. You may feel groggy and unable to concentrate after a longer nap. Napping earlier in the day versus the afternoon as that can interfere with your nighttime sleep.