How many hours of sleep do seniors need? As much as a high school student, according to this Health Matters news story. The target: seven to nine hours a night for both populations is best.
The similarity in this sleep prescription for such extreme age cohorts may come as a surprise, but there is a difference when it comes to “the quality of senior’s sleep,” says the article. Generally, seniors experience “sleep fragmentation” (waking up more, sleeping less deeply), as opposed to the heavy sleep of teens.
If you or a senior you know is having trouble getting a good night’s rest, make a resolution for this new year to be one marked by better health through better sleep. Consider these tips:
- Use a sound machine to mask outside noises. This may be especially helpful for those in assisted living or other senior care settings.
- Get the TV out of the bedroom, or at least turn it off an hour before going to sleep. Experts say the bright lights, sounds and images flickering across the screen trick your brain into staying awake (and the nightmare-inducing crime dramas and news reports that are on late at night aren’t much help for relaxing into peaceful sleep either).
- Dedicate the bedroom for sleep. If it would help, get new sheets, pillows and comforters that are warm and cozy, that you look forward to snuggling under at night.
- Use an eye mask to block light — and improve your focus on the task at hand.