Monday morning brought what felt like a rather shortened routine for me, so I can only imagine what it felt like for others. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, clocks shot ahead an hour and created a hefty shift for some people. The day comes faster, and night (feels like it) is delayed a little longer. But as much as this change signals the promise of summer that sits just around the corner, the disruption can cause an unhealthy shift in our sleep patterns.
No matter who you are or how old, sleeping well is important for maintaining a physical and emotional well-being. For the aging adult, a good night’s sleep is essential for the body to make its proper repairs from the day. It helps improve concentration and memory formation, and refreshes your immune system, which in turn helps to prevent disease.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. In fact, research demonstrates that our sleep needs to remain constant throughout adulthood.” Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but most adults tend to require 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function properly the next day. A sleep study done by the National Institutes of Health found that healthy older people may require about 1.5 hours less sleep than younger adults.
It’s been stressed, though, that how you feel after your sleep is a more important consideration than how many hours it has been suggested that you sleep. Charles Morin of Laval University in Quebec City, an insomnia researcher told The Globe and Mail that, “Among my patients, those who go to bed at 11 p.m. and get up at 6 a.m. are more rested [than] those who go to bed at 10 p.m. and get up at 8 a.m.”
To avoid poor sleep habits, Helpguide.org has provided a list as to how aging adults can improve their sleep. To see, click here.