Your parents were right when they told you that sleep was important and that you should get at least eight hours per night.
The breakdown for the amount of sleep an individual needs, generally is:
- 14-15 hours a day for infants
- 8 to 9 hours a day for teenagers
- 7 to 9 hours a day for adults.
These are averages and some individuals might need more or less to function at their best. Physicians say, though, that if you are feeling sleepy during the day, even if you’re involved in a boring activity, you may need to get more sleep than you’re getting.
If you’ve been deprived of sleep you may need to “catch up” and get to bed earlier or sleep in a bit later. If you’re not getting enough sleep you could potentially suffer depression, memory problems and even weaken your immune system making you more prone to illness; this is more of an issue as we age.
As we age, we may find that we need fewer hours of sleep, but we don’t want to completely throw off our circadian rhythms and stay awake until all hours or sleep in until late in the morning or early afternoon. Keeping to a schedule is the best way for our body to get its down time and allow it to heal itself.
An issue for seniors as they age is they have problems sleeping because of aches, pains or illnesses. Lack of sleep could lead to stability issues and lead to a slip or fall accident – one of the leading causes of emergency room visits in individuals over the age of 65.
What can you do to make sure you’re getting the sleep you need? Here are some items:
- Get some form of exercise daily, but do it early in the day, not before bedtime
- Avoid food and drinks with caffeine such as chocolate, coffee or soda after dinner
- Don’t nap during the daytime as this can throw off your natural sleep rhythms
- Make sure your room is conducive to sleep; keep it cool and dark
- Get into a bedtime routine so that your mind becomes accustomed to doing the same activities and puts itself into sleep mode
One of the benefits of having a home medical alert device is that it offers peace of mind in the event you’re not getting enough sleep to your family members. And as caregivers, providing your aging loved ones with a personal medical device provides assurance that if they suffer any ill effects from lack of sleep, they can get assistance at the push of a button.
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