Elected "Better Sleep Month" by the Better Sleep Council, this May is the official month to improve all areas of our sleeping lives. Though many don't realize it, getting a good night's sleep is vital to our ability to function properly throughout the day. Lack of sleep or interrupted sleep can eventually lead to deterioration of the body and mind. Children, teenagers, adults, and seniors can all suffer the consequences of a poor sleeping pattern. Therefore, it's important to assess your sleep on a regular basis, and take the right steps toward consistently obtaining better rest.
As we grow older our schedules change and our sleep patterns modify along with them. Because of this reason, seniors are very susceptible to sleep disorders. Since May is "Better Sleep Month", many senior service groups are promoting senior health care and better sleep by doing their part to inform seniors about the intrinsic risks of deprived sleep, and how to develop an effective sleep plan.
Improving on Sleep
Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your general health. Fortunately, there are a variety of options that can help you improve your sleeping habits. Good health, a satisfactory environment, consistent schedule, and many other factors can contribute to a great night of sleep. Below are a few suggestions to help you achieve better, more consistent sleep:
- Purchase a New Mattress - Though it is often ignored, purchasing a new mattress can do wonders for a good night of sleep. Old mattresses with sags, tears, and other general maladies can interrupt an otherwise comfortable night of sleep. Senior health care professionals agree that, as our bodies grow older and lose the ability to handle stress, it is good practice to purchase a new mattress every 5-7 years.
- Schedule - Do not underestimate the benefits that a regular sleeping schedule will have on your body. Try performing a similar routine before you go to bed every night. This routine will alert your body to begin producing the proper chemicals that prepare the mind and body for sleep.
- General Health - As one of the most important aspects of daily life, general health is also vital for sleep, too. Proper diet and exercise, as well as finding ways to reduce stress on a daily basis, can help your sleep cycle tremendously.
- Environment - Your sleeping environment should be as simple as possible. Dark environments with a comfortable temperature are best for sleeping. Even the tiniest bit of light may interrupt your sleep cycle, so don't use your bedroom for work or other activities that might produce light and disrupt your sleep.
- Stimulants - Before bedtime, steer clear of stimulants such as cigarettes, caffeine, or alcohol. These can upset your sleep cycle, and cause sleep disorders.
The Inherent Risks of Sleep Deprivation
At first glance, the only consequence of a meager night's sleep would be feeling drowsy the following day, which you might combat with a cup of strong coffee. However, the consequences of a consistently deprived sleep schedule are much more serious. Some of these consequences include:
- Mood Disorders
- High Stress Levels
- Memory Loss
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
Senior Health Care and Sleep Disorders
Sleep disorders are common among Senior Citizens. If you're feeling tired during the day then it's very possible that you may have one. While specially designed sleep clinics and other senior services will help monitor sleeping patterns to diagnose a particular disorder, there are signs and symptoms you should be aware of:
- Sleep Apnea - Sleep apnea is an inherently dangerous sleeping disorder. Pauses in breathing occur throughout the night with sleep apnea, causing you to wake up periodically and diminish the quest for a good night sleep. Frequent awakening and louder than normal snoring are signs that you may have sleep apnea.
- Insomnia - Insomnia is very frequent in adults who are 60 and above, making it a major concern for many nursing homes and other senior health care service providers. Consult your doctor if you have trouble staying asleep or going to sleep since both are signs of insomnia.
Sleep and Alzheimer's disease - Nursing homes and other senior health care services have begun focusing on the sleeping habits of those with Alzheimer's disease and how to improve their rest and safety at night. Many who suffer from Alzheimer's have erratic sleeping schedules and, often times, disorders which include insomnia, sleep walking, and other similar disorders.
Sleep disorders and other forms of sleep deprivation can become a serious health concern for people of all ages. Assess your sleep on a regular basis and make sure you're getting proper rest at night.