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June 2, 2020

Sleep and Aging: Sleep Habit Changes With Age

It seems that just about everything begins to change as you age. It isn’t just about crows feet and grey hairs popping up that you need to look out for. There are extra medical tests to keep track of, glasses prescriptions change, but your sleep habits will also change.

We are going to go over all of the different changes to sleep habits that often come with age. Along with some of the reasons why these changes occur. Knowing what to expect can help greatly with these sorts of things. Keep reading to learn more about sleep and aging. sleep and aging common changes to sleep habits as you age

Melatonin Decreases With Age: 

melatonin decrease in levels as you age As you begin to age, your body produces less melatonin naturally. This is the hormone that informs your body that it is time to feel sleepy and go to bed. Which means you may find it more difficult to fall asleep.

Many believe this is also why you may experience having a more difficult time staying asleep throughout the night after you have made it through a REM cycle too.

Thankfully there are a few ways you can work with this. Melatonin supplements are everywhere these days and they can help you get to sleep naturally.

Sleep Apnea:

sleep apnea increasing as you age The three major risk factors for sleep apnea are being male, overweight, and or over the age of 40. Since extra weight tends to be a natural part of aging, sleep apnea has become a common occurrence with age, especially if you’re male. If not monitored and left untreated, sleep apnea can be very dangerous.

In some cases it can even lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Which means not only is it annoying snoring that wakes you up frequently it is also a serious health risk. At times sleep apnea goes undiagnosed due to assuming it is standard snoring. If you are concerned about sleep apnea speak your doctor for a referral for a sleep specialist.

Struggling with snoring? Head over to our post Snoring Causes & Cures

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS):

elderly sleep habits and rls Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is much less dangerous than sleep apnea. However, it can be just as disruptive to your sleep. While some children experience RLS, also known as early onset RLS. Many only begin to experience RLS after the age of 45.

Restless Leg Syndrome is exactly what it sounds like, your legs have the urge to move without being able to be calm and rest. Some experience restlessness alone, while others experience itchiness, shocking, and pain throughout their lower extremities.

This is typically triggered whenever laying down in the evenings. Topically applied magnesium can be very helpful for easing these symptoms.

Head over to our post Top Tips & Products to Ease Restless Leg Syndrome for more tips on how to relieve RLS symptoms.

Menopause and Sleep:

menopause problems with sleep Anyone going thru pre-menopausal symptoms knows that there are a lot of changes going on all at once. It also seems that menopause tends to look and feel different for many women. While some experience very intense hot flashes or mood swings, others may experience very light fatigue and depression.

With any big hormonal shift, the changes in your body are going to have a trickle effect throughout your whole body and how it functions. Once your hormone levels find a new normal, many of the pre-menopausal symptoms will dissipate. However in the meantime it may be a struggle to stay comfortable and get a proper amount of sleep.

Learn more about our top tips for getting better sleep with menopause in our post: Menopause and Sleep: Sleeping with Hot Flashes

Early Nights & Early Mornings:

effects aging has on your sleep This is likely the most common change in sleep schedule that we hear about that comes with age. As long as you are still able to go about your standard daily schedule, this shouldn’t be anything to be concerned about.

This is thought to be caused by the lower melatonin production causing you to naturally wake up earlier in the morning. Which then causes you to feel tired earlier in the evening.

Insomnia:

getting the right amount of sleep while aging Whether you are struggling to fall asleep at night, or finding yourself waking up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep, you’re not alone. As you age the sleep process changes and you will experience a lighter sleep overall. Which means it can be difficult to fall and stay asleep throughout the night.

This is often very frustrating although it is increased with stress and anxiety. Which is why we do not suggest stressing over getting back to sleep. Simply try and relax and rest your body and mind even if it isn’t sleeping. Trying to “force” yourself back to sleep often has the exact opposite effect. Stress free is the way to be.

You Might Also Enjoy: The Importance of Sleep & Why Do We Sleep?

General Aches & Pains:

how to sleep with aches and pains We all have them, whether it is from an old injury or just simply wear and tear. General aches and pains are part of the package when it comes to aging.

Unfortunately even small aches and pains can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep comfortably. There are many ways to ease these symptoms depending on the specific pains and their causes that you experience.

Tips For Getting Better Sleep:

Though some of these naturally occurring sleep disturbances will be hard to overcome, we do have some suggestions. Below are several practical ways to assess if your sleep needs are missing anything that could help you get better sleep. Regardless of age, many of these recommendations may be a helpful way to get into a better rest routine.

Find the Right Mattress:

best mattress for older adults

Calm elderly happy marriage sleeping in bed together

One of the first things to make sure is that you have a comfortable and supportive mattress. By ensuring that you have a bed that not only addresses your ultimate comfort but any other top concerns is priority.

If you are a warm sleeper finding a cooling mattress is ideal. If you are looking for a mattress that is most ideal for side sleeping we have several great suggestions.

When you are starting to age you may find that your preferences change. So making sure your mattress isn’t the culprit for restless nights is definitely a priority.

Looking for a new mattress? We offers several amazing suggestions in our Best Mattresses page. We also have some key things to look for in our Best Mattresses for Seniors page too. 

Temperature Moderation:

stay cool to stay asleep Temperature changes can really effect how we sleep, getting too hot or too cold is a sure fire way to ruin a good nights rest. Hot flashes are no fun while you’re trying to sleep at night. Which is why we suggest getting a personal cooling/heating system for your bed. This way there are no fights over the thermostat or crazy electric bills.

The chiliPAD and BedJet both cool each side of the bed to a set temperature of your choosing. This way you can get immediate relief and maintain a happy comfortable temperature throughout the night.

Click to shop the chiliPAD on Amazon.com

Click the link to shop the BedJet now.

Melatonin Supplements:

melatonin helps you get sleep The lower production and secretion of melatonin is one of the leading causes of many of the other sleep struggles you may run into as you age. Which is why we highly recommend finding a melatonin supplement that works well for you.

Before you start taking melatonin you may want to speak to your doctor to ensure it will not interact with any of your other medications. This is a good practice for any vitamins or supplements that you take.

Head over to our post A Guide to Using Melatonin to learn more about how it works and safe ways to use it.

Adjustable Base:

best of adjustable basesWhether you are struggling with generic aches and pains, have restless leg syndrome, or simply struggle to get out of bed from time to time. An adjustable base is a great addition to your bedroom.

They are perfect for sitting up in bed to read a book or for raising your legs to reduce swelling. It can even help with snoring. Adjustable bases are good with so many different things that they have become a very popular luxury feature to have in the bedroom.

You May Also Like: Pros & Cons of Adjustable Bases

Take Naps:

napping while for sleep Of course if you have not yet reached retirement age, this may not be an option for you. However, if you are no longer getting the quality of sleep that you were in your younger years, a nap is a great way to supplement your daily sleep.

While many of us stop taking daily naps after we reach school age, naps can be a happy and healthy activity at any age. If you have the time for it in your schedule anything from 10 minutes to an hour can enhance your health and energy throughout the day.

CBD Pain Management:

cbd oil for aches and pains as you age

If you are looking for a way to relieve your stress, anxiety, aches, and pains. Then you should absolutely give CBD oil a try. Don’t worry, CBD that is THC free will not make you high. CBD can be taken sublingually or topically. It is a natural way to relieve pain and stress while helping support healthy sleep hygiene.

Like any other supplements or vitamins we do suggest talking to your doctor before you begin using CBD. This is especially true if you are considering replacing any if you are wanting to get off of any of your current medications. Do not do so without consulting your doctor first.

Learn more about CBD Oil and it’s many benefits in our post: CBD Oil Guide: Finding Better Sleep with CBD

Weighted Blankets:

top weighted blanket for cleaning If you are one of the many out there that struggles to get a full nights rest. Or wakes up in the middle of the night and can’t seem to get back to sleep, we suggest trying out a weighted blanket. Often something that increases these symptoms is stress.

Weighted blankets are a great tool for minimizing stress, and encouraging relaxation. All of which is helpful for lulling yourself back to sleep.

Learn more about the effects of weighted blankets on our post: Weighted Blanket Benefits

Stay Active:

active lifestyles help you sleep as you age Having an active social and physical lifestyle can greatly increase your overall health and well being. This is true with your sleep health as well. Staying physically active helps keep your body fit and healthy which in turn will help your sleep schedule to stay regulated.

Learn more about the benefits a healthy body can have on your sleep in our post: Exercise and Sleep: Is Exercise Good For Sleep?

Sleep and Aging – Final Thoughts

Aging may bring changes and unexpected complication to getting a great nights sleep. However, with a few minor habit changes and staying healthy can help you to get the sleep you deserve. We hope we have helped you learn a bit about what may be causing you to have trouble sleeping. Along with a few tips that will hopefully help you to get better sleep.

stay happy sleep well while you age

Have a lingering question for us? We would love to help, send us a message to our Contact Us page. We will help you in anyway we can.