As we age, our sleeping patterns tend to change, and it’s essential to know how much sleep a 70-year-old needs. The answer to this question is crucial for ensuring that the elderly receive the necessary quantity and quality of sleep to maintain their health.
Despite being in the same age bracket, 70-year-olds don’t necessarily get a free pass when it comes to sleep. Just like younger adults, they need about 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night for optimal functioning. But their slumber can be disrupted by health concerns and lifestyle habits.
Continue reading to learn more about the proper quantity and quality of sleep required for a 70-year-old. It’s never too late to prioritize your sleep and improve your overall health.
Why Do Adults Need Enough Sleep?
Older adults need to get enough sleep. Research has shown that individuals aged 70 and above who regularly obtain seven-to-eight hours of sleep daily experience a reduced risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Adequate sleep also bolsters immune function, enhancing the body’s ability to defend against harmful infections. On a cognitive level, proper sleep allows for clearer thinking, better concentration, and sharper memory retention.
Additionally, a lack of sleep can contribute to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Therefore, older adults should prioritize getting the sleep they need to maintain and improve their physical and mental health as they age.
What Are Some Common Sleep Problems Older People Usually Have?
As we age, it’s common for our sleep habits to change. From trouble falling asleep to waking up too early, older adults often experience various issues when catching some shut-eye.
Pain is a common problem for older adults and can significantly affect their sleep quality. Whether caused by arthritis, injuries, or other conditions, the discomfort can lead to inadequate rest, making the body more vulnerable to illnesses.
Unfortunately, pain and sleeplessness can create a vicious cycle, as less sleep can lead to more pain. Seeking medical advice can help identify the causes of pain and provide appropriate treatments to manage the symptoms and improve sleep.
#2. Nighttime Urination
Nocturia, or nighttime urination, is another common sleep problem for older adults. Age-related physical changes in the urinary system can contribute to this condition, which affects up to 80% of older adults.
Frequent trips to the bathroom disrupt sleep and can impact the overall quality of life. Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other interventions, depending on the underlying causes of nocturia.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrefreshed in the morning. Older adults may experience various factors contributing to insomnia, such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, noisy or hot environment, or caffeine intake.
Proper treatment can help improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of associated health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.
#4. Daytime Drowsiness
Feeling tired during the day is not a normal part of aging, and 20% of older people experience excessive daytime sleepiness. This condition may indicate an underlying health problem, such as sleep apnea, cognitive impairment, or cardiovascular issues.
Prompt evaluation and diagnosis are essential to manage the condition effectively and improve quality of life.
#5. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing during sleep due to the collapse or narrowing of the upper airway. The condition can lead to fragmented sleep, decreased oxygen levels, headaches, daytime sleepiness, and difficulty thinking clearly.
Older adults may be more at risk due to age-related changes in the body, such as weight gain, muscle loss, and decreased lung function. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, oral appliances, or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.
Can Medication Affect Sleep In Most 70-Year-Olds?
Medication can affect sleep in older adults, especially when treating medical or psychiatric disorders. Some medications can cause daytime sleepiness or disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading to insomnia.
The body’s ability to metabolize medications may decrease with age, causing them to stay in the body longer and possibly mess with your sleep. It is important for healthcare providers to carefully consider the potential sleep-related side effects of medication when prescribing for older adults.
Communication between healthcare providers and older adult patients is crucial to ensure medication use is optimized and the risk for insomnia is minimized.
In addition, non-pharmacological interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) can help treat insomnia in older adults without causing side effects.
Should Older Adults Take Naps During the Day?
Enjoy a refreshing break during the day to boost cognitive functioning and overall well-being. Research suggests that brief naps of no more than 35-45 minutes can help older adults fight fatigue, raise alertness levels, and sharpen memory. Recharge with an afternoon siesta, and you won’t regret it.
Studies have shown that napping in the daytime can lower cardiovascular disease risk, reduce stress levels, and improve mood. However, it is essential to ensure that napping does not disrupt nighttime sleep and that it is scheduled earlier in the day.
A quick afternoon siesta might be a tempting habit, but it’s important to remember that naps can’t wholly replace your nightly rest. Get some healthy sleeping habits and don’t be afraid to get help from healthcare professionals if you need it.
When Should most 70-year-olds go to bed?
Our internal body clock shifts and this can affect our sleep patterns. Most 70-year-olds should go to bed around 7pm or 8pm and wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. This is due to changes in our circadian rhythm and decreased hormone production that regulates sleep.
While it may be tempting to fight this natural inclination, doing so can negatively impact our overall health. Seniors must prioritize getting enough sleep and establishing healthy sleep habits that align with their natural sleep patterns.
So, if you’re wondering when to go to bed, listen to your body and follow its natural cycle.
Ensure Adequate Sleep for Seniors to Maintain Good Health
A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining physical and mental health at any age, and senior citizens are no exception. Despite the myth that they require less sleep, seniors still need to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
However, the elderly tend to fall asleep and wake up earlier than younger people. This shift in their sleep pattern may affect their overall health and well-being. By following some simple sleep hygiene tips and maintaining a regular routine, older adults can improve their sleep quality and live healthier lives.
So, prioritize your sleep routine to stay physically and mentally fit in your golden years.