It probably comes as no surprise that sleep is important to good health. After all, you know how you feel when you’ve had too little sleep. But, what you may be surprised to learn is that the amount of deep sleep a person gets can impact their lifespan. This means that when your older family member isn’t sleeping well, it could be reducing the amount of time they have left.
Stanford University Study Reveals Sleep Affects Lifespan
Deep sleep, also called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, is when the body fixes damage done during the day. In the past, many studies have shown that not sleeping enough can have dire health consequences. Yet, many people fail to take the necessary steps for improving their sleep.
According to this new study from Stanford University, by reducing REM sleep by just 5 percent, death rates in older adults go up between 13 and 17 percent. To determine this, the researchers followed 2,600 men who were an average age of 76 for 12 years. In addition, they used data from another study that involved 1,400 men and women with an average age of 52. This second group was followed for approximately 21 years. The impact of reduced REM sleep on mortality rates was observed in both study groups. Lack of REM sleep was linked to an increased risk of death from any cause.
Improving Senior Sleep
There are many ways to help your aging relative sleep better, such as these tips:
- Have a Schedule: It can be easy for seniors who are retired and don’t have a set daily routine to get up in the morning and go to bed whenever they feel like it. However, by getting up and going to bed at the same time each day, the older adult will likely sleep better.
- Seek Out Light During the Day: Spending a little more time in bright light during the day improves sleep by working with the body’s circadian rhythm. The older adult will find themselves with more energy during the day and better sleep at night.
- Don’t Nap Too Much: If the senior must nap during the day, naps should be short. Try sticking to 15 to 20 minute “cat naps.” Avoid napping after early afternoon.
Senior care providers can assist your aging relative with sleeping better at night by assisting them with developing better sleep habits and making certain they are comfortable at night. Senior care providers can help the older adult to stick to a schedule by coming in the morning to get them up at the same time each day and again at night to help them get to bed. Senior care providers can also help the older adult to get outside when the weather is nice, so they can spend some time in the sun. And, by keeping your aging relative busy during the day, the senior care provider can make certain they nap less.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Frederick, MD please contact the caring staff at Just Divine Home Care Agency today at (301) 219-1585.