Falling asleep and staying asleep at night, isn’t always easy. For the some 70 million Americans who suffer from chronic sleep disorders, it can be nearly impossible.
For students and working adults, getting a good night’s sleep during the week can be hard simply because of the stresses of daily life; around four in 10 teens and adults say that they rarely get enough sleep on weeknights.
For parents with young children, the idea of a full eight or nine hours of sleep in a single night is a mere dream; this demographic is (not surprisingly) the most sleep-deprived group in the country.
For seniors, however, sleeping comfortably through the night can be just as difficult. The National Institute of Health states that good sleep quality is essential for aging adults, but it’s also not easy to find. A person’s sleep schedule is unique to their own body, but it isn’t even consistent over the years; the ideal sleep schedule and definition of a “good night’s sleep” differs as we age.
For starters, older adults may encounter problems falling asleep and/or staying asleep because they can’t get comfortable. Arthritis alone can make sleep a difficult task, and when added on to other health problems, the physical ability to get comfortable is a lot harder. Flat beds aren’t generally great for the human body because they don’t offer nearly enough support.
Many older adults also find that they’re less able to sleep through the night because they wake up at every little sound or movement. This sudden shift into becoming a “light sleeper” is actually something that many adults experience as they age. For women undergoing menopause, changes in body temperature may make it difficult to get comfortable at night.
And of course, getting up to go to the bathroom at night is another common cause of not sleeping through the night.
It’s important to remember that there are many small ways to improve your sleep quality. From understanding and adjusting your sleep schedule, getting older doesn’t have to mean that you lose out on valuable sleeping time.