Sleep deprivation can affect a senior’s cardiovascular health, mental clarity, sex drive, weight, and mood. However, changes to sleep patterns are a natural part of aging, and many seniors have difficulty sleeping for even three or four hours.
Family caregivers may find it challenging to motivate their senior loved ones to maintain healthy sleeping habits. If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality non medical home care, Pawleys Island Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Here are a few reasons seniors should start taking steps toward a healthier sleep schedule.
1. Repair Damaged Cells
From acute injuries to sore muscles after exercising, sleep is vital for repairing damaged cells. This is one of the reasons many professional athletes aim for nine or more hours of sleep every night. Seniors who can’t get at least six hours of sleep should speak with a doctor about common issues such as sleep apnea.
2. Boost the Immune System
Seniors who don’t get enough sleep are much more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. While younger adults can generally fight off most infections, these viruses are much more dangerous to older adults who already have compromised immune systems. Most antibodies are produced during the deepest stages of sleep, which can fight off severe infections.
3. Increase Lifespan
A 2010 study conducted at Penn State University revealed that sleep habits might be closely tied to life expectancy. This study closely followed women over the age of 50, and those who got less than six hours of sleep a night had much shorter lifespans. More research is needed on the subject, but some experts believe this connection has to do with certain hormones being released by the body while sleeping.
4. Enhance Memory
Many of the memories made throughout the day must be consolidated into certain areas of the brain while sleeping so they can be retrieved later. Seniors who are having trouble learning a new hobby or skill should aim for at least seven or eight hours of sleep a night to boost memory and fight dementia.
If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, trust in the Pawleys Island dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance to help him or her manage the condition while continuing to live at home. In addition to high-quality dementia care, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Sleep deprived seniors tend to have much higher rates of obesity. Researchers at the University of Chicago discovered that well-rested adults lose more fat on a healthy diet. The subjects of this study also claimed they didn’t feel as hungry throughout the day even when they had caloric deficits.
6. Reduce Chronic Inflammation
General inflammation has been linked to serious health complications ranging from heart disease to dementia. When an individual is sleeping, his or her body will produce chemicals that break apart some of the inflammatory proteins. Getting plenty of sleep can also reduce the symptoms of arthritis and increase joint health. If the chronic inflammation persists, aging adults might face mobility issues.
If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Pawleys Island Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks. To learn more about our high-quality elder care services, call us today at (843) 353-3105.