Sleep deprivation can affect a senior’s cardiovascular health, mental clarity, sex drive, weight, and mood. However, changes in sleep patterns are a natural part of aging, and many seniors have difficulty sleeping for even three or four hours. Here are a few reasons seniors should start taking steps toward a healthier sleep schedule.
1. Repair Damaged Cells
From acute injuries to sore muscles after exercising, sleep is vital for repairing damaged cells. This is one of the reasons many professional athletes aim for nine or more hours of sleep every night. Seniors who can’t get at least six hours of sleep should speak with their doctors about common issues such as sleep apnea.
Family caregivers may find it challenging to motivate their senior loved ones to maintain healthy sleeping habits. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality at-home care, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
2. Boost the Immune System
Seniors who don’t get enough sleep are much more likely to get sick after being exposed to viruses. While younger adults can generally fight off most infections, viruses are much more dangerous for older adults who already have compromised immune systems. Most antibodies that fight off severe infections are produced during the deepest stages of sleep.
3. Increase Life Span
A 2010 study conducted at Penn State University revealed sleep habits might be closely tied to life expectancy. The study closely followed women over the age of 50, and those who got less than six hours of sleep a night had much shorter life spans. More research is needed on the subject, but some experts believe this connection has to do with certain hormones being released by the body while sleeping.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of McKinney senior home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
4. Enhance Memory
Many of the memories made throughout the day must be consolidated in certain areas of the brain while sleeping so they can be retrieved later. Seniors who are having difficulty learning a new hobby or skill should aim for at least seven or eight hours of sleep a night to boost memory and fight dementia.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Sleep-deprived seniors tend to have much higher rates of obesity. Researchers at the University of Chicago discovered well-rested adults lose more fat on a healthy diet. The subjects of this study also claimed they didn’t feel as hungry throughout the day even when they had caloric deficits.
6. Reduce Chronic Inflammation
General inflammation has been linked to serious health complications, from heart disease to dementia. When an individual is sleeping, his or her body produces chemicals that break apart some of the inflammatory proteins. Getting plenty of sleep can also reduce the symptoms of arthritis and increase joint health. If chronic inflammation persists, aging adults might face mobility issues.
Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing serious illnesses and require more extensive live-in care. McKinney seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. Call one of our Care Managers at (972) 548-0392 to learn about our customized in-home care plans.