Sleep Changes As You Age
|May 24, 2009||Posted by healthsmartmom under Aging Beautifully|
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to living a healthy life and feeling rested throughout the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, or don’t get a good quality of sleep, you can not only be left dragging mentally, you can also suffer physically. And as you age, you may find yourself sleeping differently. You may need more or less sleep, or wake more frequently.
Everyone knows that you are supposed to get eight hours’ sleep a night, but many people don’t realize that this may not apply to them. While most people need close to eight hours, a few people only need four or five hours of sleep a night while others need up to eleven. That’s why it’s important to listen to your body and figure out what’s most healthy for you.
The amount and type of sleep we need changes as we get older. This is fairly obvious by looking at babies, who spend most of the day sleeping. You may also have noticed that we again require more sleep as we hit puberty and become teenagers, but the changes don’t stop there. Alterations in our sleeping patterns continue all the way through adulthood and into our senior years.
Once you hit adulthood, you’ve probably figured out how much sleep you really should be getting. After that, the amount of sleep you need probably isn’t going to change very much. The problem is that as we age, our quality of sleep goes down. Older people wake up more often in the middle of the night and simply don’t get as restful a sleep. This may make you feel more tired during the day so you think you need more sleep, or may cause you to wake in the middle of the night, giving the illusion you need less sleep.
While many people notice changes in their sleep quality as they age, that doesn’t really mean that aging is the cause. As we age, we also develop more physical and mental health problems, which could be the real cause of our loss of sleep quality. Not only can the illnesses themselves wreak havoc on our sleep schedules, but so does the medicine used to treat them. Plus, if you’re not getting appropriate amounts of sleep, you may notice a worsening of your symptoms because you body is too tired to respond appropriately.
If you are an adult who has noticed changes in your sleep pattern, amount, or quality, take the time to see your doctor. They can run tests to rule our medical reasons for your sleep issues and can even put you in a sleep study to further diagnose the problem. Even if there is no medical cause, there are new non-habit forming drugs that can help you get a better night’s rest. With proper treatment, you will be able to get more high quality sleep and feel rested and ready for every day.