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Sleeping poorly isn’t just a part of getting old – so if it’s not just age, why can’t seniors get good sleep?
The fact is that as we age, our circadian rhythm – or internal sleep regulator – changes. It naturally advances a few hours as a person grows older. When that happens, older people may feel they need to go to bed earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning, causing them to get sleepy in the afternoons.
Losing sleep at night results in a 24-hour problem for older adults. When seniors don't get the sleep they need at night, daytime drowsiness dulls the senses and saps energy, impairing the ability to perform normal activities – such as driving or concentrating on a task – and increasing the risk of having or causing accidents. Even catching up on lost sleep with daytime naps is risky. Daily naps can create a vicious cycle that disrupts normal sleep patterns, making it harder to sleep well at night. Sleep experts recommend seniors to limit naps to 30 minutes or cut them out completely if they interfere with regular nighttime sleep. Seniors’ need for sleep does not change with age, but their sleep patterns may so by making a few lifestyle changes, seniors can help keep their internal clocks on time and overcome sleep problems.
Tips for Seniors: