Many people find that as they get older, they get a few hours less sleep a night. Many attribute this phenomenon to the aging process. Unfortunately, sleeping is how our bodies rejuvenate themselves. Sleep is essential to your health but millions of older adults don’t get enough which can contribute to feelings of fatigue and drowsiness. In addition, lack of sleep can cause memory lapses and trouble with concentration. These two things could also be attributed to symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Also, add a lower immunity threshold as well as obesity and heart disease risks.
A night here and there of insomnia is no big deal, but days at a time can be a serious threat to your health. How many nights does the average older adult need anyway? Every person is different but the average amount of sleep needed per night to feel energized and refreshed is seven to nine hours. If you are not getting this much sleep, don’t ignore the problem. Consider the following reasons why you should seek help with your sleeping problems:
1. Memory and learning capabilities – When you get a good night’s sleep, you can typically perform tasks better the next day and your capacity to retain new information is higher. Some people regain their creative sides when they get more sleep.
2. Safety factors – When you have a sleep deficit, you are endangering yourself with bouts of micro sleep, quick snippets of time when your brain checks out into sleep. These mini-sleeps cause many accidents every year on the roads, not to mention injuries on the job. Contrary to hopeful belief, your body does not readjust to a shorter sleep time.
3. Stronger immunity – When you do not get the sleep you need, your health is compromised. If you go around tired all the time, you are more susceptible to illness. However, when you get the full amount of sleep you need every day, your body can produce all the antibodies it needs to fight off infection.
4. Weight loss – Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain. This occurs because your body changes the way it stores carbohydrates and prematurely releases cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is a major contributor to stomach fat. In addition, a special hormone is produced in records numbers which prompts hunger and eating. By getting enough rest and sleep, you are essentially sabotaging your body into losing weight.
5. Quality of existence – If you lose sleep on a regular basis, your normal sunny disposition starts to exhibit too many “cloud cover” of emotions such as crankiness, lack of concentration and impatience. Lack of sleep not only affects your family life but also your sex life too. Work is affected and you experience other sleep disorders too.
6. Healthy respiratory system – There are several heart related symptoms that are directly tied to irregular heart beats and even high blood pressure. Sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing for little short bursts of time, is a problem when you don’t get enough sleep and rest. In addition, hormone levels get out of whack and can cause swelling, which is a problem linked to heart attacks.