Some people will tell you that getting older is the worst thing that can happen to a person. Your body hurts, you can’t sleep, and you begin to forget what you had for breakfast. Maybe your knee hurts every time it’s going to rain or you find that you keep putting the peanut butter in the fridge instead of the cupboard.
As if getting older wasn’t bad enough once you hit 50 you’ll find that sometimes things will just get worse before they can get better. Put a hold on the pity party though; there are things you can do to make climbing the hill of age a bit easier on yourself:
For the first time, older adults got their very own personalized sleep recommendations. The National Sleep Foundation concluded, after reviewing the scientific research on sleep duration, that adults 65 and up should aim for 7 to 8 hours a night, compared to adults 26 to 64, who should sleep between 7 and 9. The distinction might not seem like a huge deal at first, but it’s a nod to what many older adults inherently know to be true: Sleep really does change with age.
“Our sleep changes throughout the lifespan,” says Natalie D. Dautovich, PhD, the NSF’s environmental scholar and an assistant psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Many 50+ sleepers find it’s easier to become awakened during the night, which is reflected in a little shorter sleep duration over all, Dautovich says.
It’s not exactly a welcome change: The NSF found 71 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds report some sleep problem, including difficulty falling asleep, waking up still tired, or snoring.
Here are a few of the unique sleep situations facing you as you age.
—Your bedtime and your wake-up time shift earlier.
Remember how all you wanted to do when you were 19 was stay up late and doze until noon? You weren’t just exercising your laziest teenager muscles; our natural internal clocks, technically called our circadian rhythms, are delayed until our 20s, meaning we truly don’t get tired until later at night and don’t feel alert until later in the morning, Dautovich explains. After we grow out of this phase, though, our circadian rhythms keep advancing, and later in life we tend to become sleepy earlier and feel our most alert earlier in the morning, too.
If you read closely you’ll see that there are six issues outlined in that article. Six can seem like a big number and a small number all at once. Instead of just throwing these issues at you and running away laughing, you’ll find that some tips have been incorporated so that you can address these potential sleep disturbers.
Sleep is always going to be precious and depending on what your daily life is like you might find yourself getting less and less of it. If that’s the case, it’s even more important to make sure that the sleep you are getting is truly restful. You still need to function during the day and being a productive member of society.
Sorry, you don’t get to laze about until you hit 80.
The blog post Aging And Sleep Issues: How to Fix Them was initially published to The Snoring Mouthpiece Review Blog