Ask The Nurse; Do I Need Less Sleep As I Age?

April 10, 2017

Sleep allows our body to rest and restore energy. Without it, we can become grumpy, irritable, inattentive, and more prone to accidents. Sleep is essential to good health and quality of life.

Sleep needs change over a person’s lifetime. Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults, 7-9 hours per night. Unfortunately, many older adults often get less sleep. An older adult may sleep less deeply and wake more often throughout the night. Older adults secrete less melatonin that helps promote sleep.

Tips for getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Follow a regular schedule. Go to sleep and wake at the same time, even on weekends.
  • Try not to nap too much during the day.
  • Try to exercise at regular times each day.
  • Try to get some natural light during the day.
  • Be Careful what you eat and drink. Avoid caffeine late in the day. Nicotine is a stimulant.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to help you sleep.
  • Create a safe comfortable place to sleep.
  • Develop a bedtime routine.
  • Use the bedroom for sleep only. Give yourself about 15 minutes to fall asleep. Playing mental games is helpful and may promote sleep.

If you are tired during the day and cannot function normally and it lasts for more than two-three weeks, you should see your family doctor.

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