Why Seniors Should Set a Regular Sleep Schedule

Importance of Setting a Regular Sleep Schedule for Seniors

By Will Reid, 8:00 am on

Sleep is a vital part of our everyday routine. While everyone needs sleep in order to live full and healthy lives, many senior adults aren’t able to get the necessary 7-9 hours of shut-eye on a regular basis. Why is this the case? Along with a natural change in sleep rhythm with age, disruptive sleep schedules are common among elderly adults usually as the result of medication, health and activity habits, or illness.

For many seniors, a lack of sleep can leave feelings of grogginess, however Cincinnati senior care and geriatric care specialists believe that sleep issues or a complete lack of consistent sleep can result in more serious issues including obesity, diabetes, and an increased risk for heart attacks and depression. Because of these risks, it is important that family members know what to do to promote regular sleep schedules for their aging parents and loved ones.

When setting up a comfortable sleep environment for an elderly person, it is important to understand sleep cycles. As the body enters sleep, it goes through the various sleep cycles in different stages. The first stage involves relaxation of the mind and body. Because people in the first or second stage of sleep are easily woken by irregular noises, changing the mattress or pillow, and creating a clutter-free zone where there is minimal light, disturbances or noise can help to promote comfortable and easy sleep in these stages.

After sleeping for 30-45 minutes, the body may begin to move into the third and fourth stage of sleep. People who wake up during the third or fourth stage of sleep will be very groggy and tired and may have trouble falling back into a restful slumber.  To help limit waking up during this stage, seniors should limit caffeine and alcohol intake close to bedtime. Physical activity should also be completed earlier in the day so that the body is tired at night, not ready for additional activity.

The fifth stage of sleep is the REM stage. At this point, your body is virtually catatonic. It is during REM sleep when your body repairs itself, reinvigorates muscles, and prepares you to face the next day. For some seniors, waking up during this stage of sleep is the result of needing to use the restroom. Many seniors (and their family members) can experience added peace of mind with the support of an overnight bedside caregiver. A live-in caregiver is able to be by your loved one’s side throughout the night in case they need comforting, help getting in and out of bed, or assistance to the bathroom during the middle of the night. Click here to learn more about live-in care for seniors in Cincinnati.

To learn more about promoting a good night’s sleep for seniors, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati at 513-891-2273 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Care Managers.