The Health Benefits of Adequate Sleep for the Elderly

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According to the National Institute on Aging, more than half of all seniors experience sleep problems. This includes having difficulty falling asleep, waking frequently throughout the night, and sleeping for fewer hours at night. Although some seniors and their caregivers assume this is normal and naps will make up for lost sleep, this isn’t the case.

Why Getting Enough Sleep Is Crucial

To understand why we need sleep, it’s important to know what sleep does for our bodies. Sleep allows the body to devote all of its resources toward healing and repairing itself. This includes everything from helping the body recover from a cold to repairing muscles and strengthening bones. Lack of sleep renders the body incapable of allocating energy to these healing processes, which can cause serious health issues and weaken the immune system.  Sleep also allows the body to balance hormone levels it needs to function properly. For instance, sleep helps the body produce enough of the hormone leptin, which signals a feeling of fullness. Individuals who don’t get enough sleep are likely to feel hungry more often, eat too much, and have a higher risk of obesity. Seniors can get adequate rest at night by making healthy lifestyle choices, and professional caregivers can be wonderful sources of information and support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Habits that Can Prevent a Good Night’s Sleep

There are several habits that can prevent sleep, including too much daytime napping, distractions such as watching television in bed, and consuming too many alcoholic or caffeinated beverages throughout the day. Timing of medications can even make sleep more difficult. It’s possible to take control of some of these habits, but you shouldn’t change the timing of your loved one’s medications without consulting with the doctor first. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Cedar Falls, IA, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

What Can Be Done to Promote Sleep

Sticking to a regular wake and sleep cycle can keep your loved one’s internal clock from getting confused. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day can help the body establish good sleep patterns. If caffeine has a tendency to keep your parent awake, encourage him or her not to eat or drink anything caffeinated within six hours of bedtime, or urge your loved one to completely cut caffeine out of his or her diet. Heavy meals and alcoholic beverages should also be avoided prior to bedtime.  The good news is there are quite a few things seniors can do to get some much-needed sleep. Experts recommend keeping the bedroom somewhat cooler than the rest of the home, turning off the television and radio, and limiting naps throughout the day. Increasing activity earlier in the day can also assist in tiring your loved one for better sleep. If you’re unable to help your loved one with his or her nightly sleep routine, consider hiring a caregiver, who can assist with nighttime activities and ensure safety as your loved one gets into bed. Lack of sleep can lead to a wide variety of medical conditions for the elderly. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Cedar Falls seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. Call Home Care Assistance at 319-260-2222 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.

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