This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.
Growing Older, Sleeping Wiser:
How Sleep Habits Evolve Over the Years
Sleep is an essential component of our daily lives, contributing significantly to our physical and mental well-being. It's no secret that as we age, our body undergoes various changes, and these transformations extend to our sleep patterns. Here, we will explore the intriguing relationship between ageing and sleep. We'll discuss the common sleep issues that tend to crop up as we grow older and the age-related changes in sleep that everyone should be aware of. But don't worry, we won't leave you hanging without solutions – we'll also provide valuable sleep tips for adults and how sleep affects the process of ageing. So, let's dive right in.
Identifying the Changes in Sleep Routines
Adults should average about 7-9 hours of sleep every day to function optimally the following day. These figures are extensively researched and those that brag about doing ‘just fine’ with only 5 hours of sleep a night, really dont know what they are saying.
When you are younger, it is easier to get in the 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. But as we get older your sleep pattern changes in the following ways:
- You will likely sleep less than 7 hours at night
- Your sleep may feel less restful during the night
- You may be more inclined to nap through the day
- The times that you go to bed and wake up will also likely change
Ageing and Sleep Problems
One of the most noticeable changes in sleep patterns as we get older is the increased likelihood of experiencing conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea. Insomnia can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night, leading to persistent fatigue during the day. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, causes interruptions in breathing during sleep, resulting in brief awakenings and poor sleep quality.
Moreover, restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder are more common in older individuals, causing discomfort and restlessness during sleep. These sleep problems can be quite disruptive, affecting the overall quality of sleep and contributing to daytime drowsiness and fatigue.
Sleep Patterns and Aging
The architecture of sleep also changes with age. Our sleep is divided into 4 cycles, each consisting of different stages, including REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. As we age, the proportion of REM and deep sleep stages decreases while the time spent in lighter stages (stage 1 and 2) of NREM sleep increases. This could possibly be due to a drop in melatonin production. This alteration can result in a lighter and more fragmented sleep, making us more susceptible to disturbances and awakenings, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
In addition, older adults tend to wake up earlier in the morning and may find it challenging to fall back asleep, which can lead to a feeling of not getting enough rest. This early morning awakening is linked to changes in our circadian rhythm, the internal biological clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.
Age-Related Changes in Sleep
To understand the effects of ageing on sleep, it's essential to recognize some of the most common sleep issues that older adults face and the changes in sleep patterns that accompany them.
1. Decreased Deep Sleep: As we age, the amount of deep sleep we experience decreases. Deep sleep is the most restorative phase of the sleep cycle, promoting physical and mental restoration. This reduction in deep sleep can contribute to feelings of tiredness and decreased cognitive function.
2. Frequent Awakenings: Older adults often experience more awakenings during the night, which disrupt the continuity of their sleep. These interruptions may result from various factors, including medical conditions, medications, or the need to use the bathroom.
3. Shifting Circadian Rhythm: The circadian rhythm naturally evolves with age. This shift can lead to earlier bedtimes and waking times, which may not align with an older individual's lifestyle or preferences.
4. Reduced REM Sleep: REM sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and emotional processing. As we age, the duration of REM sleep decreases, potentially affecting memory and emotional well-being.
5. Lighter Sleep: Older adults often experience lighter sleep, making them more susceptible to disturbances from noises or discomfort.
Sleep Tips for Adults
While ageing brings changes to sleep patterns, there are steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep and maintain a healthy sleep routine.
1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body's internal clock.
2. Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.
3. Limit Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.
4. Stay Active: Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
5. Watch Your Diet: Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. These can disrupt your sleep.
6. Manage Stress: Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and promote better sleep.
7. Consult a Healthcare Professional: If sleep problems persist, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalized recommendations.
8. Consider Natural Supplements: Natural supplements like Restore Your Sleep may help support better sleep. These supplements are formulated with ingredients like tryptophan's from walnuts that help boost natural melatonin production to ensure you are in the deep sleep phase longer, fall asleep faster, and wake up feeling fresher, more relaxed and well-rested. The help in improving sleep quality without the potential side effects associated with prescription medications.
Ageing brings inevitable changes to our sleep patterns, including an increased likelihood of sleep problems and shifts in sleep architecture. However, understanding these changes and implementing healthy sleep practices can help older adults maintain the quality of their sleep and life. By following the sleep tips we've provided and, if necessary, exploring natural supplements like Restore Your Sleep, dark chocolates for deep sleep, you can improve your sleep quality and overall well-being. Embrace the changes that come with age, and remember that it's never too late to prioritise healthy sleep.
With a little effort and the right strategies, you can enjoy restful nights and a healthier you. Unlock the secrets of ageing and sleep Embrace restful nights and a healthier you.