Tips for a Good Night’s Rest in Honor of National Sleep Awareness Week
The week of March 14 through 20, 2021 has been designated by the National Sleep Foundation as National Sleep Awareness Week. While some seniors may not give much thought to the time spent between the sheets, the importance of sleep for a healthy life has been garnering some serious attention. National Sleep Awareness Week shines the spotlight on sleep and how better sleep can actually increase overall health and wellbeing.
Fellowship Square aims to help seniors “wake up” to the importance of the proper amount of sleep and how to promote quality sleep in the name of health with the following tips and advice.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults ages 65 and older need between seven to eight hours of sleep per night. However, this range can vary greatly depending on individual’s specific health conditions so it’s a good idea for seniors that have sleep issues speak to their personal health care physicians to determine a proper amount for them — and how to achieve that number every night.
As people age, the Foundation reports that sleep is even more vital because poor sleep can contribute to many health concerns, reducing quality of life in people 65 and older. A Sleep in America Poll conducted by the Foundation found that 24 percent of people between the ages of 65 and 84 reported being diagnosed with four or more health conditions. The site states, “Those with multiple health conditions were more likely to report getting less than six hours of sleep, having poor sleep quality, and experiencing symptoms of a sleep disorder.”
In addition to mental and physical health conditions, prescription medications and lifestyle changes as people age also serve as contributions to poor sleep. For example, as people age, they may begin to get tired earlier in the evening, take more naps throughout the day, or wake more throughout the night due to age-related sleep “architecture.” This term refers to how people cycle through the different stages of sleep. The article says, “Older adults spend more time in the earlier, lighter stages of sleep and less time in the later, deeper stages. These shifts may contribute to older people waking up more often during the night and having more fragmented, less restful sleep.” The article also points to pain, nighttime urination, sleep apnea, insomnia, and other conditions that can lead to poor sleep quality.
The good news is there are multiple things seniors can do to help improve their quality of sleep. Referred to as “sleep hygiene” good sleep habits begin with regular exercises, a regular sleep schedule, and a routine bed time ritual (such as a soothing bad, a warm cup of tea, curling up with a good book or simply enjoying some quiet time). The Foundation also encourages seniors to avoid substances that discourage restful sleep such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, or even a large meal late in the day. It’s also a good idea to limit distractions and set the stage for a good night’s sleep by turning off the TV and other electronics and turning down bright lights.
In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, Fellowship Square encourages seniors to pay attention to their quality of sleep. Those that are having sleep issues should try the above tips and speak with their physician about any specific health conditions that may be impeding a good night’s rest.