Our body goes through so much as we get older, a lot of those being physical changes that we can tend to notice more quickly. However, there are those mental changes that effect us too and these are very important to keep track of because they can be more harmful to our health, like aging and sleep for an example. As we get our older our brains tend to deteriorate, which affects the way the rest of our bodies function. One of those functions being sleep and when we don’t get enough sleep, this then leads to potential health risks as well! Either way, it can be a lose-lose situation if you don’t take early precautions.
Getting the proper amount of sleep every night is very important and unfortunately, many people tend to look past this. When aging and sleep play into effect with one another, then this causes our circadian rhythms to get all confused. What this rhythm does is coordinates the timing of our bodily functions, especially our sleep. For a lot of older people, their circadian rhythms are set to go to sleep sooner and wake up earlier, where as someone who is younger may do the opposite.
How Do Aging And Sleep Effect Each Other?
With aging, sleep patterns change but it can vary on the individual. Most people find that aging causes them to have a harder time falling asleep. Many can claim that they wake up more throughout the night and earlier in the morning. It has been said that your total sleep time can decline and it may be a lot harder for you to fall asleep. The transition between sleep and waking up is often abrupt as well, which tends to make people feel like they are a light sleeper. Studies have also confirmed that older people on average wake up three to four times in one night, as well as more aware of being awake.
If you don’t take control of your sleep again it can lead to common sleep conditions. These conditions include insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, or hypersomnia. Sleep apnea has been shown to be cause of aging and sleep.
There are ways to prevent these sleep conditions from taking over your life. However, it is highly important to talk with your doctor about any possible diagnosis of sleep conditions before stepping foot into treatment. Many professionals my prescribe some sort of antidepressant which might help with your sleep. Mild antihistamine’s are said to work better than a sleeping pill for relieving short-term insomnia. For older people, be careful of the medications being prescribed to you as they can pose serious health risks.
Before falling asleep try these simple steps:
- Avoid taking stimulants such as soda, coffee, tea or anything that contains stimulants for a least 3 to 4 hours before bed.
- If you are having trouble sleeping at night, do not take daily naps.
- Exercise in the afternoon.
- Avoid putting yourself in from of TV, computer, cellphone or anytime of screen before you sleep. Try and replace this with relaxation techniques.
- Avoid tobacco products before falling asleep as well.
Although alcohol can tend to make people sleepy, it is highly recommended to avoid drinking alcohol because it can wake you up later in the night.