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Aging Information - How Does Aging Affect Your Sleep?


It seems that nearly half the men and women that are over 65 years of age have some sort of complaint about some sort of sleeping problem. One of the more common complaints is insomnia or other difficulties dealing with sleep on a nightly basis.

When we age, the sleep patterns we are use to start to change. When we get older it seems we sleep a lot less and will have more fragmented sleep than when we are younger, aging also seems to cut down on our REM sleep which is the deep or dream sleep stage. No matter how old you are though, you still need some good sleep to maintain good health and good emotional health.

There are some specific things that can contribute to our inability to get good sleep as we begin to age. For one, bad sleep habits. Things like drinking alcohol before you go to bed can disrupt proper sleep. If you have prolonged wake time while in bed or if a person tends to take naps during the day, all can be bad habits and can disrupt a person's ability to get good sleep at night when they need it most.

Certain types of illness can also help to get in the way of proper sleeping. Things like heart failure, arthritis, heartburn and even menopause can affect how well we sleep at night. These types of conditions and illnesses make it a lot harder for a person to fall asleep and sometimes can cause them to wake up off and on during the time that they are trying to sleep.

Older people tend to me on more medications than those who are younger and some of these medications may sometimes make it harder for a person to fall asleep or even remain sleeping. There are also things like psychological distress that can interfere as well. Just the process of aging can lead to psychological distress a long with the loss of someone close to them or the thought of having to move out of their home or limitations that are put on them by an illness can all cause stress leading to less sleep than a younger person.

If a person just recently retired, this can put them into a different type of sleeping situation which might disrupt how they are use to sleeping because they have a lot of time on their hands so they stop keeping regular hours they had when they were working.

Each person has different sleep requirements and if you seem to be getting less hours of sleep than when you were younger yet you still feel good when you get up then that just might mean you actually don't need as much sleep as you use to get. But, if you notice that the sleep you are getting is starting to affect you during your day activities you probably should contact a doctor so that they can help you take the necessary steps you might need to help you with your sleeping problem.



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