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A Good Night’s Sleep

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Sleep is a very important aspect in our lives, as getting enough sleep helps us stay healthy, and be more alert to everyday situations. Many people today don’t sleep well, and if you’re constantly tired, consulting a doctor may be a good option. Waking up and feeling tired on a daily basis is not a good habit. Both young and older adults need the same amount of sleep, 7-9 hours a night. However, seniors have a tendency to sleep earlier and get up earlier than they did in their younger years. They may also nap more during the day, which makes it that much harder to fall asleep at night.

There are two kinds of sleep: REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. REM sleep is where dreams most often happen, while non-REM sleep is a deep sleep. As people approach their older years, they spend less of their time in deep sleep (non-REM), which is a reason why older people are usually light sleepers.

Good Night's Sleep

Sleeping Problems

Many factors affect why older people do not get enough sleep at night. Being sick, or in pain can make it hard to sleep. Taking naps throughout the day also causes problems with sleeping at night. Whatever the reason, if you do not get enough sleep one night, you may be affected by many problems the next day, such as being easily irritated, being forgetful, feeling depressed, feeling clumsy, or simply feeling exhausted throughout the day.

Movement Problems

Other common disorders in older adults include rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, limb movement disorder, periodic limb movement disorder, as well as restless legs syndrome.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) makes one feel like there are pins and needles or tingliness in one’s legs. These symptoms are worse at night. RLS tends to run in a family, and if you have these symptoms, see your doctor for more information, and how to treat your condition.

Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a condition where one will have sudden spasms or jerk around every 20 to 40 seconds while sleeping. Some may have hundreds of these per night, and this results in loss of sleep, and exhaustion the next day. Some ways to treat PLMD are warm baths, exercise, relaxation exercises, and perhaps medication.

Rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (REM sleep behaviour disorder) occurs during REM sleep, which is the most active stage of sleeping, when dreaming often occurs. During this stage, one’s muscles aren’t supposed to be able to move, so that your body will stay still. However, this condition makes it so that your muscles are able to move, thus disrupting sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where an individual has short pauses in breathing during their sleep, occurring multiple times in one night. This disorder can cause many serious problems such as high blood pressure, strokes, or memory loss if not treated.

Tips for Sleeping Well

Some tricks to help fall asleep including playing mental games to exhaust the mind, or count slowly to 100. Some say that relaxing yourself before your sleep makes for a good night’s sleep, while others find that talking yourself into sleeping is very helpful as well. For instance, you can tell yourself that your toes feel light as feathers, then continue describing the rest of your body as such. Using this method, you will fall asleep before your know it.

If you find that you cannot sleep at all for weeks on end, you may have a sleep problem, in which case you may have to consult your family doctor.


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