How much sleep do people need for older adults?
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to feel fully alert during the day. This usually also applies to people 65 years of age or older. But as we age, we may have more trouble sleeping. Many things can interfere with good sleep or sleeping long enough to be fully rested.
What sleep changes are common in older people?
People in elderly state may feel sleepy earlier at night. People in a state of advanced age may have trouble falling asleep at bedtime or can not stay asleep all night which is known as insomnia. They can get up very early in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep.
What causes sleep problems?
A number of things can cause problems with sleep. When an adult is over 65 years of age, sleep-wake schedule may not work as well as when he or she was young. As we age, our bodies produce less of the chemicals and hormones that help us sleep (melatonin and growth hormone). Some habits in lifestyle (such as smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages) can cause sleep problems. The sleep-related problems can be caused by illness, pain that does not allow the person to sleep or because of drugs that keep you awake.
However, people of all ages can have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea . The restless leg syndrome or disorder, periodic limb movement are also conditions that can cause sleep problems.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing repeatedly while sleeping. People with sleep apnea usually snore very loudly. They stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds during sleep and then start breathing again with a gasp. This can happen hundreds of times in one night. Every time this happens, it causes the person to wake up a bit, which disrupts sleep patterns and makes the person can not rest well at night. This can also cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of a heart attack.
What can I do to sleep better?
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even during weekends.
- Do not nap longer than 20 minutes.
- Do not read, eat snacks or watch TV in bed. Use your bedroom for sleeping and other rooms for other activities.
- Avoid caffeine about eight hours before bedtime.
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol at night. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will probably wake up in the middle of the night.
- Do not stay in bed for a long time trying to fall asleep. After 30 minutes of trying to sleep, get up and do something quiet for a while in another room, like reading or listening to music at a low level. Then try again to fall asleep.
- Ask your doctor if any of the medications you take could be keeping you awake at night. Drugs that may disrupt sleep include antidepressants, and heart medications.
- Ask your doctor for help if pain or other health problems keep you awake.
- Try to do some exercise every day. Exercise helps many older adults sleep better.