Sleep: Do You Need Less As You Age?

tired smiley face, sleep

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.”

– W. C. Fields

Sleep is one of those things that tend to change rapidly over many people’s lifespans. You spend much of your first months asleep. In childhood you despise it. As you get older you crave it. And when you get even older, you get less of it.

Do Older Adults Need Less Shuteye?

Older adults, contrary to what many think, do not need less time asleep. “In fact, research demonstrates that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood,” says the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, many seniors are, actually, more tired during the day and less satisfied with their sleeping.

With benefits like improved concentration, memory formation, damaged cell repair, and immune system refreshing, you, definitely, don’t want to compromise on this gift, as you age.

Causes for Less Sleep as you Age

As we age, our patterns of sleep – “sleep architecture” – change, which may cause issues. Changes may include lower levels of melatonin, due to less production of growth hormones. This can cause you to get up in middle of the night and have a more fragmented sleeping experience.

So, the first thing is not to confuse insomnia with needing less shuteye.

What You Can Do

You may find some of the common solutions useful. These may include:

  • Using a noise maker
  • Making sure the room is dark
  • Setting a comfortable temperature in the room
  • Not keeping a phone in the room
  • Minimizing physical exercise before bedtime
  • Avoiding naps during the day
  • Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule

Sleep is important at all stages of life, especially as you age. Make sure to experiment with better sleeping tips.

If these don’t work, you may want to speak to your doctor, as there may be a medical or psychological component to your insomnia.

Did your sleeping patterns change over time?

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