It's a misconception that as we get older, our sleep needs decline. However, it is true that older adults often do not get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
While sleep needs in older adults may not change, sleep patterns may.
Additionally older people tend to spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep. Whatever the cause of sleepless nights, it is particularly important that people age 50 and older get a good night's sleep. The study relates that the lack of rest may increase the risk of memory problems and depression, interfere with the ability to cope with chronic medical conditions, and contribute to dangerous falls.
If you are not sleeping well or not feeling rested after sleeping, it is recommended that you discuss this with your physician. He or she may prescribe a sleep study, which can be done at Porter's Center for Sleep Medicine in Portage. The results of the sleep study can help your physician diagnose sleep disorders, leading to better sleep and better overall health.
The National Institutes of Health reports many older adults often get less sleep than the seven to nine hours per night needed. The reasons cited for this may include:
Poor sleep habits.
Older adults can experience a shift in circadian rhythm that causes them to become sleepy in the early evening and to wake up to early in the morning. Alcohol before bedtime or daytime napping can also affect the ability to sleep.
Some drugs may impair a person's ability to fall asleep or stay asleep and may even stimulate wakefulness at night.