5 Benefits of a Full Night's Sleep for Older Adults

Sleep is essential for health, especially as we age. Many things can interfere with the sleep patterns of an adult. According to Sleephealth.org, "It is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million Americans of all ages and socioeconomic classes." Sleeping is the time to rest and rejuvenate as the mind and body recover from a long hectic day. Studies have shown that older adults need to sleep for eight hours as sufficient sleep contributes to many facets of health and wellness.

Our bodies undergo several changes as we age, such as producing lower levels of hormones. As a result, we experience a reduction in slow-wave or deep sleep. When the body experiences this, it will produce melatonin, which means continuously experiencing difficulty sleeping, and waking up often during the night. Therefore, it is increasingly important as we age to ensure we get sufficient sleep.

Read on for 5 of the top benefits of getting a full night's sleep as an older adult:

  1. Reduce Risk of Disease

    If an older adult does not receive enough sleep, he/she may be more likely to develop severe health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity. Several studies have indicated that not receiving enough sleep will add stress to a person, resulting in a weakened immune system. When sleeping, the body undergoes vital functions such as muscle growth, protein synthesis, and repairing the body tissues. All these developments are meant to keep the immune system very strong.

  2. Maintain Weight and Support Metabolism

    At any age, being overweight can present risks. Getting a full night's sleep is a great way to help maintain weight and metabolism. Not only does your body require this rest to function properly throughout the day, but it also has been found that sleep decreases food cravings. According to SleepFoundation.org, inadequate sleep results in eating larger portions of food and increased cravings for fatty foods.

  3. Improve Concentration and Memory

    Thoughtful senior lady sitting at home with her fingers to her chin reminiscing and recalling fond memories, close up portraitReceiving a full night's sleep will help keep the brain healthy and memory sharp. A lack of sleep negatively impacts the attention span and short-term memory. Decision-making skills will also be weakened for anyone who does not receive enough sleep.

    Sleeping for the recommended amount of time will also help to minimize cognitive decline, memory loss, and chances of developing dementia.

  4. Clear Harmful Toxins

    The glymphatic system is responsible for the body's waste disposal system and for clearing toxins that are harmful to the body. The glymphatic system is very active when sleeping. A study's findings are that one of the toxins getting cleared from the brain during sleep is responsible for Alzheimer's disease. Click here to learn more on this topic from the National Institute of Health. 

  5. Boost Your Mood

    Happy old couple smiling in a park on a sunny dayMental health is closely related to sleep. If an older person does not have enough sleep, he /she may be more likely to develop depression or anxiety. Reduced mental health will also negatively affect sleep quality. A good night's sleep is critical for the well-being of the mental health of an older adult.

    Stress and anxiety will make it much more difficult to sleep well at night. Practice letting go of these thoughts and worries at night. Here are some additional tips to help beat stress before going to bed:

Do you struggle to sleep enough at night? Check out our blog, 10 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep!

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