Learn how to sleep like a child again

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Seniors -

Many adults lament that even if they were solid sleep­ers in their younger years, by the age of 50, their qual­ity of sleep has un­rav­eled. Some cling to the wis­dom that peo­ple sim­ply do not need as much sleep as they get older.

The Na­tional Sleep Foun­da­tion re­cently up­dated its sleep rec­om­men­da­tions per age group to in­clude cat­e­gories “may be ap­pro­pri­ate” and “not rec­om­mended.” This in­cludes a range of hours that may be ad­e­quate for cer­tain adults.

Adults be­tween the ages of 26 and 65 are ad­vised to get seven to nine hours of sleep per evening. How­ever, six hours or 10 hours also may be ac­cept­able. Peo­ple over the age of 65 need roughly seven to eight hours of sleep each night, though be­tween five and six hours also may be fine.

Many older adults do not get enough sleep due to in­som­nia, states Jack Gard­ner, MD, a neu­rol­o­gist cer­ti­fied in sleep medicine. They’re con­cerned about health is­sues, may have sleep ap­nea, can ex­pe­ri­ence pain or fre­quent uri­na­tion, or may be tak­ing med­i­ca­tion that im­pedes sleep. Dr. Leila Kheiran­dish-Gozal, director of clin­i­cal sleep research at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago, says that, over time, in­suf­fi­cient sleep can im­pact me­tab­o­lism, mood, mem­ory, and heart func­tion.

Var­i­ous strate­gies can help peo­ple get more sleep and en­joy bet­ter sleep qual­ity.

• Cre­ate a lux­ury bed en­vi­ron­ment. Splurge on the largest mat­tress you can af­ford and one that is com­fort­able for both par­ties (if mar­ried/cou­pled). A roomy bed rou­tinely in­vites sleep. If you have a rest­less part­ner, try two sep­a­rate beds pushed against each other.

• Consider white noise. The sounds of the house or outdoors may be keep­ing you up. Many peo­ple find that the gen­tle hum of a fan or a white-noise ma­chine with a calm­ing sound ef­fect makes it eas­ier for them to dose off than com­plete quiet.

• Keep elec­tron­ics out of the bed­room. It can be chal­leng­ing to dis­con­nect from elec­tron­ics, but it is essential to falling asleep. Even a back-lit text com­ing through in the wee hours can be enough il­lu­mi­na­tion to dis­rupt sleep.

• See your doc­tor. If med­i­ca­tions or ill­nesses are keep­ing you up, a change in reg­i­men may pro­vide the re­lief you need.

Older adults can learn the steps to sleep­ing more soundly and eas­ily.

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