We all need enough sleep to function at our best. Unfortunately, not many of us get it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over a third of American adults don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. This is in contrast to the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep that people between the ages of 18 and 70 need, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Sleeping less than this increases the odds of developing health conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. What can we do to reverse this damaging trend? Quite a bit, actually. In part 2 of our sleep hours series, we’ll be taking a look at what’s preventing us from sleeping enough and what we can do about it.
The ages of 30 to 40 years are largely dominated by family responsibilities and work. It’s a busy period and it’s not uncommon to sacrifice sleep to get everything done on time. As we get older, health problems like osteoporosis and weight gain become more common. What’s more concerning is that poor sleep can increase the risk of developing these conditions. It is important to balance responsibilities but also make sure you get recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
As you cross your 40s and move closer to your 50s, healthy living becomes more important as it helps to counter health problems that increase naturally with age. This includes getting enough sleep to keep weight in check, get your heart healthy, and maintain good levels of energy. Sleep is directly tied to health issues like anxiety, chronic pain, digestive issues, and skin problems. If you’re sleep-deprived, you could find them worsening.
Healthy living continues to remain a priority as you move into your 50s. Regular check-ups, a healthy diet, physical activity, and relaxation can keep many conditions at bay. However, it’s common to sleep less during this period. Night-time awakenings are more frequent too. This may be attributed to the production of less melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. With age, you may become more sensitive to changes in the environment like noise that further disrupts sleep.
It’s important to know that even if you feel like you can function well with less sleep, your body still needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep during this period. The sleep debt will catch up and cause problems in your 60s and 70s.
Once you cross the age of 60, certain medical conditions become more common. This is because the immune system becomes weaker, making viruses like the flu easier to catch. Sleep problems may continue through this period too. It can take time to fall asleep and you may find yourself frequently waking up at night. Disorders that cause pain like arthritis can interfere with sleep too. The good news is that sleep actually strengthens the immune system so if you make the effort to get enough sleep, your health can also improve.
I used to believe I was just a bad sleeper, until I bought my first NUVANNA bed! I haven’t slept this well in years, or possibly ever! I could not be more excited about the quality of this bed and the improvements it has brought to my sleep! This is an investment that you will not regret.
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Poor sleep can seem like something that’s tough to beat and, indeed, it does take a little work. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to sleep better as you age. Here are a few tips:
We’ve mentioned that melatonin production decreases with age. But, there are things you can do to make sure that it isn’t suppressed further. Stop screen time at least an hour before going to bed and dim the lights. This will encourage your body to produce melatonin as its production is directly linked to darkness.
Sometimes small noises can disrupt sleep and if this is the case with you, you need to drown them out. Get a white noise machine, which generates sounds that are a combination of different frequencies. This masks outside noise and tunes out your brain’s systems to soothe and calm you.
If you tend to feel sleepy earlier than you used to, don’t worry too much about it. Just adjust your bedtime. You won’t have to force yourself to stay awake and you’ll still get the sleep you need. Fretting about going to bed early will only stress you out and keep you awake.
There’s nothing like a comfortable bed! It’s inviting, soothing and lulls you to sleep. The Nuvanna mattress does just this. Designed by a materials scientist with over 20 years of experience, it has three layers that focus on three sleep disruptors. The top layer regulates body temperature with the help of phase-changing gel particles that draw out body heat and disperse it. The middle layer isolates motion so that you and your bed partner can move without disturbing each other. The bottom layer supports the body and keeps the spine neutrally aligned.
Sleep hours may change over the years but one thing is for sure – we need enough quality sleep no matter our age. If you do suffer from sleep disorders or ailments, sleeping well can understandably be a little challenging. However, you can take back control by making these small, yet significant, changes in your lifestyle.