The National Sleep Foundation celebrates sleep advocacy and education during the upcoming 2021 Sleep Awareness Week on March 14-20. It is crucial to understand sleep and the impact it has on overall health.
Sleepiness is often overlooked as an inevitable part of life, but our bodies and minds cannot function properly without quality sleep. As we age, sleep becomes increasingly essential for optimal health.
In the National Sleep Foundation’s annual Sleep in America Poll 2020, they found that, on average, Americans feel sleepy three times a week, with 62% trying to dismiss their sleepiness as normal. The poll found that 55% of sleepy Americans generally felt the culprit was poor sleep, as opposed to 44% of Americans feeling like they did not get enough sleep.
Let’s take a more in-depth look:
The Importance of Sleep: Is Age a Factor?
Sleep does not become less important as you age; in fact, it becomes more important. Cycles may change, but seniors still need 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Senior health is directly impacted by sleep quality. According to the National Institute on Aging, when seniors get the recommended amount of sleep each night, it can decrease irritability, increase memory function and lead to fewer falls or accidents.
If your quality sleep is lacking, you are not alone. We all want quality sleep, but how can we get it?
It is possible to feel rested and restored each day, even if you are an older adult. Here are some quick tips to jump-start your way to quality sleep:
Implement a sleep schedule
Develop a night-time routine
Exercise at regular times each day
Use low light in the evening
Avoid large meals and caffeine before bed
Sometimes, even following these guidelines is not enough to get regular quality sleep. There might be something biological affecting your sleep habits: circadian rhythms.
Understanding Circadian Rhythms and How They Impact Sleep
A circadian rhythm is a natural process that controls many body functions such as sleep cycles and eating. The internal rhythm typically follows a day-night cycle, repeating every 24 hours.
When circadian rhythms are not synced with the day-night cycle, it can produce mental and physical health problems, including sleep disorders. If our circadian rhythms are out of sync, our sleep is too. The right signals are vital for falling asleep and staying asleep.
The biological process of circadian rhythms helps produce melatonin in the evening as it gets dark outside and slows the production in the morning as daylight appears. Melatonin helps with falling asleep, staying asleep and with the quality of your sleep. Without the natural ebb and flow of hormones and chemicals from circadian rhythms, you might find yourself up too late, tossing and turning, or waking early without going back to sleep.
Though circadian rhythms are a natural process, they can be influenced by environmental factors such as light and temperature. Persons with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia commonly experience the sundown syndrome, also known as “sundowning” ─ a sudden worsening of confusion, agitation, and aggression at the end of the day. Its daily pattern suggests that “sundowning” is believed to be governed by the body’s internal biological clock.
Circadian Lighting: Tribute Facilities Use A Science-Based Approach
When it comes to circadian rhythms, light plays a large role in triggering natural biological functions to prepare your body for sleep at night and to rise each morning. The Tribute community has been purposely designed to use a unique lighting system from Ketra Electronics, a leader in lighting technology, as part of their science-based approach to healthy living. The light system in Tribute produces natural lighting that rises and falls with natural daily rhythms. The lights help circadian rhythms stay in sync and lead to better sleep and healthier well-being and are believed to help reduce sundowning symptoms.
Learn more about Tribute’s amenities and science-based approach to senior living today.