A good night’s sleep is so vital that the average healthy person will spend nearly one-third of their lives sleeping. As we age, it’s common that sleep patterns will change – although for some seniors, unfortunately, these sleep changes can prove to be harmful. Staying educated on the importance of sleep and healthy sleep patterns can lead to the prevention of illnesses and improve the quality of life. Here, we’ll detail why sleep is so important for seniors, how life at an independent living community can promote better sleeping habits, and what seniors can do to make sure they get the best sleep possible.
Health benefits of a good night’s sleep
Everyone can relate to feeling tired. But the common signs of a lack of sleep, such as low energy, irritability and confusion, are only what we see on the surface. Studies have shown that getting between seven to nine hours of sleep every night can help seniors to improve overall health on a deeper level, including brain and body tissue function. When we sleep, the body has the opportunity not only to rest, but to repair as well. The body repairs cells as we rest and creates hormone and protein molecules, restoring energy and providing much needed nutrients throughout the entire body. The nerve cells in our brains also need this period of rest to reorganize, resulting in healthy brain function. A regular healthy night of sleep will improve a senior’s reasoning skills, mood, alertness, and memory – all of which will aid in a more enjoyable independent living lifestyle.
What independent living seniors should be cautious of if a change in sleeping habits occurs
As we get older, the need for rest does not change within our bodies. Still, many seniors will find themselves unable to sleep as well as they used to. This can be due to medications or common daily stressors that come with age. All seniors, however, should take note of any changes in their normal sleep patterns, as the inability to sleep can be a sign of more serious underlying health conditions. In the same vein, if a persistent lack of sleep goes untreated, a foundation for more health risks can be created as well.
Common health risks linked to sleep deprivation include a loss in cognitive function, depression, headaches and body aches and general weakness of the body. More serious health issues can arise because of a weakened immune system due to a lack of sleep, including various cancers, infections, diabetes, and heart problems. Those with a history of stroke or Parkinson’s disease may experience restlessness as the parts of the brain that control sleep are compromised through these illnesses. Alzheimer’s has also been attributed to ongoing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia as these illnesses cause an increase in the production of amyloid, a protein associated with the cognitive disease.
How an independent living community can help seniors to improve their sleep
In order to improve sleep quality, seniors should be leading the healthiest lifestyle possible. This includes eating properly, exercising frequently and engaging in activities that strengthen cognitive health. And although sleep is not the first thing seniors think of when considering retirement, there are many sleep-related health benefits to life within an independent living community.
From receiving balanced and nutritious meals three times a day to the opportunity to partake in group activities that keep the body and mind active, the independent living services available at Country Meadows directly contribute to a healthier senior living experience. Independent living residents also have the ability to access regular healthcare from our health professionals on campus, available 24 hours a day. Consistent communication with a primary care physician can help detect illnesses associated with a lack of sleep early on. For seniors who have deeper challenges caused by sleep deprivation or other struggles, our independent living campuses offer memory support and personal care or assisted living services as well.
With ten locations in Pennsylvania and one campus location in Maryland, Country Meadows is considered to be one of the best independent living communities in the area. From independent living to restorative care and rehabilitation, the wide range of services available at Country Meadows are in place to help residents live an enriching life and to rest more peacefully knowing they’re receiving quality care. For more information on independent living at Country Meadows or any of our other services, please contact us today.