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The Importance of Sleep for Older People

What Are the Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep?

Adults need varying amounts of sleep each night – what works for one person may not be right for another, however, Age UK suggests that adults need between seven and nine hours per night. It’s a common misconception that we need less sleep as we age too, but it’s true that we can find ourselves less able to stay asleep than we did when we were younger.

Getting a good night’s sleep has many obvious health benefits such as feeling less tired throughout the day and being refreshed when we wake up in the morning, however there are other benefits that may not immediately come to mind, such as improving attention span, concentration and supporting mental wellbeing.

Why Is This Especially Important in Older people?

We all have an occasional bad night’s sleep, whether that’s due to young children, health complications or the after-effects of a good night out, however regular lack of sleep can have a devastating effect on a person’s health and wellbeing. Being regularly deprived of sleep can have a knock-on effect on pre-existing conditions such as dementia, and as the majority of people living with a form of dementia are over 65, it’s crucial for older people to get the amount and quality of sleep they need.

Age UK also tells us, “Sleep deprivation can lead to accidents and injuries and can also affect memory, because sleep cycles give your brain a chance to consolidate memories.” Therefore, there is an increased risk of falls and other accidents if older people are not getting enough sleep, which can lead to further complications the older we get.

Lack of sleep can also lead to increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, as it makes us crave unhealthy foods and inevitably gain weight. It can also affect mood and mental wellbeing, meaning we are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety when we’re not getting enough sleep. This will also affect those around us and negatively impact relationships, as well as lead to poor performance in everything we attempt to achieve.

How Can You Promote A Healthy Sleep Pattern?

To achieve a healthy sleep pattern, we need to develop good habits, just as with any other aspect of our wellbeing. Getting into a routine of going to bed at the same time every night, not taking electronic devices such as phones and tablets to bed with us or watching TV in the bedroom will all help us to get into the mindset for sleep, as the glare from screens can stimulate our brains and cause us to have difficulty falling asleep.

There are several other suggestions that Age UK make for helping us to make the most of the twilight hours and feel rested by the morning. Some are obvious, such as “making sure that your bed and bedding are comfortable”, however many people may not think that exercising later in the day would have an adverse effect, or that eating a heavy meal late at night could be counterproductive.

Napping can also be something to avoid if you wish to sleep well at night, although if you swear by a nap at some point during the day then try and ensure you always have it at about the same time.

Overall, the best tip really seems to be that if we choose a time we like to get up at and always stick to it – whether we have somewhere else to be or not – then we have the best chance for achieving a quality night’s sleep.

This is where having a Helping Hands private carer can pay dividends to your daily routine, as with care at home from us you get to call the shots about every aspect of your daily routine, not wait around until the care home staff have time to come to you or your family are back from work.

Support Through the Night for Older people From Helping Hands

Being able to get up and go to bed when you want is just one of the advantages of having one of our amazing carers either visiting or living-in with you, but the benefits don’t just extend to helping you up in the mornings or seeing you safely to bed. When you have bespoke care at home from Helping Hands you are benefitting from our over 30 years of experience supporting thousands of customers to live the best life they can, while maintaining as much autonomy and independence as possible.

We can support you from just 30 minutes per week, throughout the day, overnight or around the clock, thanks to our visiting and live-in care services which both supply the same high standards of care at all times. Our carers can support you with every aspect of your routine such as personal care, mobility and medication, while helping you to access the local community if you wish, or accompanying you to medical appointments.

They can also do so much more that will all be detailed in your personalised support plan, and because we’re fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales you and your loved ones can be confident that we’ll always deliver the high standards we promise to.

Page reviewed by Deanna Lane on November 17, 2021