Eloise’s elderly father often slept only a few hours at night. He would stay up late watching old movies or tinkering in his shop. Then, he’d be up early in the morning, sitting in front of the television with a cup of coffee when Eloise arrived to make him breakfast. When Eloise advised him to sleep more, he told her that he had tried, but he just couldn’t fall asleep at night. And, as soon as the sun’s rays began to stream in the windows in the morning, he was wide awake. Eloise worried that his lack of sleep would adversely affect his health.
It turns out that Eloise has good reason to worry. A recent study revealed that the amount of sleep people get at night affects the way their brain works.
About the Study
Scientists recently reviewed data collected from more than 40,000 study participants from all over the world. The participants completed surveys online and also did online tests. The tests measured cognitive abilities, including memory, reasoning, and verbal abilities.
One piece of information they supplied was the number of hours they typically slept per night. The results showed that people who slept between seven or eight hours per night did better on the tests than the ones who slept more or less than that amount.
Data from the test also showed:
- Getting four or fewer hours of sleep per night caused participants to perform the tests as though they were nine years older.
- The optimal amount of sleep appeared to be the same for all age groups.
- Reasoning and verbal skills were affected more by sleep than memory skills, though those were also affected.
- Even one night of sleep may affect a person’s ability to think.
Tips for Better Sleep
If your aging relative has difficulty sleeping, talking to their doctor may help. Sometimes medications have side effects that cause sleeplessness. Or, they may have physical symptoms that keep them from sleeping. Some other things that may help seniors to sleep better are:
- Adhering to a regular schedule of waking and sleeping.
- Not eating before bed or going to bed hungry.
- Adjusting the bedroom so that it is more comfortable for sleep.
- Being more physically active during the day.
- Reducing stress.
Home care providers can help older adults to sleep better at night. It can be hard for seniors to stick to a regular schedule without a job or other activities that require them to be up at a certain time. Home care can visit them each day to help them get up in the morning and again at night to help them go to bed. This will help establish a routine, which can promote better sleep. A home care provider can also tidy up the bedroom and remove distracting clutter to make it a more restful environment. And, during the day, a home care provider can encourage the senior to be more active so that they feel tired at night.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME HEALTH CARE IN SUMMERLIN, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF SUMMERLIN. 702-800-4616.