It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. It’s not about needing less sleep, but unfortunately as you get older sleep quality declines and you experience a change in sleeping patterns:
- Experience more frequent wakings in the night
- A loss of non-REM sleep (which means sleep is less refreshing)
- More daytime napping
- Less of a drop in body temperature during sleep as you age
- Prefer earlier bedtimes and earlier wake-up
There are all sorts of ways in which older people can help themselves and read up on great sleep advice to get a better night’s sleep – all of them are really based on good old-fashioned common sense such as taking a look at the bedroom environment. Mostly it’s just a case of adjusting daily routines as sleeping patterns change – and trying to limit the cat naps!
Margaret doesn’t struggle to fall asleep, but she wakes very early. Throughout the night she wakes up for a variety of reasons, including temperature, comfort and her husband’s snoring. Her doctor has advised her that her sleep problems are due to her age and arthritis. Margaret drinks caffeine after 5pm and does not exercise much, and her evening routine is very stimulating.
Margaret’s temperature fluctuates, causing her to become too hot, then too cold. She should ensure her bedroom environment is between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. In terms of her bed, she should consider a wool, alpaca, silk or bamboo duvet cover, which will help to regulate body temperature for sleep. She should look for a mattress that regulates temperature or offers breathable options.
Her husband’s snoring should be looked at by a professional, as this is an indication of Sleep Apnoea. A change of mattress will help both of them. An adjustable bed will provide them a surface that adapts to their individual sleep postures, helping them both to sleep soundly.
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