Healthy Aging Advice for Seniors

Why Sleep is Crucial for Older Adults Who Live an Active Lifestyle

Active adults

You know a body in motion stays in motion, so you’re doing your best to ensure you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle -- regardless of any mobility limitations you may have. This probably includes monitoring your diet, engaging in physical activity, and practicing healthy sleep habits. Sleep’s role in a person’s ability to stay active is often underestimated, but it’s important you’re getting your regular 7-9 hours of rest every night if you want to remain on-the-go and on top of your physical and mental health. Here are a few ways sleep contributes to a functioning body and mind.

Promotes Muscle and Tissue Recovery

Our bodies experience many changes as we age, including changes in our sleeping patterns. The older we get, the less time we spend in stages three and four of non-REM sleep otherwise known as the deepest sleep, and elder adults spend the least amount of time in this sleep stage. During non-REM sleep, our bodies run through the recovery process which repairs our organs and muscle tissues, while strengthening our immune systems. Considering elderly individuals are more susceptible to injury and illness, it’s important you get your required amount of sleep sleep so your body has a better chance of cycling through those deep sleep stages. This will help your body feel more refreshed, revitalized, and most importantly -- healthy.

Improves Heart Health

Regardless of your age, studies have shown that anybody who doesn’t receive their required amount of sleep is at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease. Therefore, it’s especially important to get the proper amount of sleep when you’re in your elder years, as individuals 65 years and older are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than younger adults. A healthy heart is the backbone to an active lifestyle and sleeping 7-8 hours a night is an effective way to promote a healthy heart.

Boosts Brain Function

A moving body is supported by an able mind, and critical brain functions like memory and decision making are reinforced during sleep. In a study by the Georgia Institute of Technology, they recruited volunteers ages 56 to 76 years old to see if there was a relationship between poor sleep in older adults and memory retention. Interestingly enough, when they were asked to recall a particular pair of words that was shown to them earlier, the older adults who received less sleep performed worse than their well-slept counterparts. If your habit of sleep deprivation continues, in the worst-case scenario, it can increase your odds of developing dementia.

Sleep deprivation also has an effect on your decision-making ability -- as we previously mentioned -- in both every-day and high-stress situations. Getting your required amount of sleep every night will help keep your mind sharp and make it easier for you to keep up with your lovable, yet high-energy grandchildren.

Author Bio: McKenzie Dillon is a blogger and sleep enthusiast for The Slumber Yard, a reviews site that focuses on bedding products. When she’s not sleeping, McKenzie likes attending music festivals, reading novels and practicing yoga.

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