How much sleep do seniors need?

Getting enough sleep is important for everyone, but it's especially vital for seniors. Sleep needs change over a person's lifetime. Children and adolescents need more sleep than adults. Interestingly, older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults - seven to nine hours of sleep per night. By the time an adult is over 65 years old, his or her sleep-wake cycle may not seem to work as well as it did when he or she was younger. As we age, our body makes less of the chemicals and hormones that help us sleep well (growth hormone and melatonin). Many seniors have problems sleeping because of health conditions — as well as their associated symptoms and medications. Some common senior health issues that can prevent you from getting healthy sleep include:

 

  • Side effects of prescription medications

  • Chronic pain, often from health conditions like arthritis

  • Depression

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Not getting enough exercise

  • Snoring

  • Alzheimer's disease or a neurological problem

  • Caffeine consumption

  • Frequent urination during the night

 

In many cases, you can improve your sleep by addressing emotional issues, improving your sleep environment, and choosing healthier daytime habits. Since everyone is different, though, it may take some experimentation to find the specific changes that work best to improve your sleep.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
— Winston Churchill...

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill