There's nothing better than waking up refreshed after a good night's sleep. And for seniors, that good night's sleep is also good for your health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, seniors over age 65 and older should get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Doing so can help you stay both physically and mentally healthier as you age.

Sleep and Seniors: The Benefits of Getting Your Rest

Here are just a few reasons sleep is so important for seniors:

  • Boosts your mood. The better you sleep, the better your mood. In fact, poor quality sleep is often directly linked to increased feelings of anger, agitation, stress and even depression.
  • Helps you stay active. Regular sleep gives you the energy you need to stay active throughout the day, making it easier to complete daily tasks and exercise regularly.
  • Improves concentration. Sleep makes it easier to focus and maintain concentration the next day.
  • Increases cognitive abilities. A lack of sleep is directly linked to issues with recalling both short term and long-term memories, making sleep a key component in maintaining cognitive health.
  • Reduces risk of falls. Sleep can help improve reaction times, decreasing the likelihood of potentially dangerous falls.

How to Sleep Well

Unfortunately, for some seniors, good sleep doesn’t always come so easy. For many, sleep issues are just a natural part of aging as the production of melatonin, a sleep essential hormone, decreases as we age. This is why it’s not uncommon to hear seniors complain of getting tired earlier in the evening, waking up earlier in the morning, or even suffering from insomnia, in which you may have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both.

Disorders like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and periodic limbic movement disorder, as well as health conditions like diabetes, cognitive heart failure, kidney disease or prostate issues in men can also impact sleep. Common medications such as antidepressants and beta-blockers can also affect your ability to get a good night’s rest. If this applies to you, be sure to speak with your doctor.

Additionally, there are a number of healthy sleep habits every senior should make part of their routine to improve their sleep, including:

  1. Follow a daily bedtime routine in which you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day—even on weekends
  2. Limit naps during the day and never nap for longer than 20 minutes
  3. Avoid watching TV or snacking in bed. Instead, only use your bed for sleep.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption late in the evening. While a late night drink may help you fall asleep, the quality of sleep will be limited as the sedating effects of the alcohol wear off.
  5. Regularly exercise and be sure to stay active during the day.
  6. Find ways to reduce stress and relax before bedtime. Many find reading before bed is a good way to unwind and ease yourself to sleep.

Helping Seniors Stay Healthy at Western Home Communities

Healthy sleep is just the start of helping seniors stay healthy. At Western Home Communities, we ensure every senior has access to the services and amenities they need to stay active, healthy and stress free. Everything we do, from the programs we offer, to our healthy home cooked meals, are all designed with the needs of seniors in mind. Contact Western Home Communities today to learn more about our senior living options.