Why We Sleep Lighter As We Age & How Can Weighted Blankets Help Get Enough Sleep

Why We Sleep Lighter As We Age & How Can Weighted Blankets Help Get Enough Sleep

5 minute read

Sleep problems are a common complaint among older adults. Later in life, people may feel as if they take longer to fall asleep and just cannot get a restful night of sleep. This can lead to tiredness throughout the day and even make it more difficult to enjoy life. There are several reasons for sleep disturbances during older adulthood, as well as ways to manage sleep problems. By developing healthy sleep habits and creating a sleep environment that facilitates a restful slumber, older adults can get the sleep they need. One way for promoting healthy sleep is through the use of weighted blankets to address sleep and age-related changes.

How does sleep change as we age?

To understand how sleep and age go hand-in-hand, it is helpful to know the ways that sleep changes throughout the lifespan. According to experts, research shows that sleep disturbances are frankly quite common among the elderly. Problems such as light sleep, awakening frequently at night, rising early in the morning, and feeling tired during the day are quite prevalent.

Studies suggest that disturbances in the circadian rhythm can lead to sleep problems among older adults. Age-related changes in the brain can also lead to sleep disturbances, making it harder for older adults to settle in for a restful slumber. These brain changes can lead to lighter sleep, which in turn sets the stage for more awakenings throughout the night.

Do you need less sleep as you age?

With aging and sleep disturbances being rather common, people may wonder if older adults simply need less sleep. While older adults certainly do not need as much sleep as babies and small children, healthy sleep is still important with age. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that adults aged 65 and above need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, which is similar to the recommendation for those aged 18-60, who need 7 or more hours of nightly sleep. The sleep needs of the elderly are considerably less than the 12-16 hours that infants require, but they fall in line with the general recommendation for adults. With this being the case, there is no indication that older adults should significantly reduce their sleep time or have to suffer through disturbed sleep with age.

Age and Sleep Problems from Health Issues

Older adults may require the same amount of sleep as most healthy young and middle-aged adults, but age-related changes can get in the way of adequate sleep. Some age-related changes in sleep may be due to health problems. For example, studies suggest that high blood pressure, diabetes, restless leg syndrome, kidney failure, pain, dementia, asthma, physical disabilities, reflux, and immune conditions can all disrupt sleep. As people age and become more prone to health problems, they may also find that sleep deteriorates.

Mental Health and Sleep

Mental health conditions can also be linked to problems with sleep with age. For instance, depression and anxiety among older adults can disrupt sleep. In fact, research shows that depression risk increases as people age, which can lead to sleep problems, since symptoms of depression include early morning awakenings as well as difficulty sleeping.

How Weighted Blankets Help

Age and sleep problems may be common, but that doesn’t mean they are inevitable. Fortunately, weighted blankets can help with some of the problems that cause sleep disruptions in older adulthood. This is because weighted blankets provide deep touch pressure therapy, which relaxes the nervous system and can make for a more restful night of sleep. For example, if frequent awakenings are disrupting your nighttime slumber, a weighted blanket can relax the body so you are not as prone to being disrupted by noises in the environment or other disturbances that may wake you from light sleep. Deep touch pressure can also alleviate pain and make for a more comfortable night of sleep.

Weighted blankets can also be helpful for people who experience mental health problems like depression or anxiety that interfere with sleep in older adulthood. In fact, a recent study found that when individuals with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or ADHD used a weighted blanket for insomnia, they felt less fatigued during the day and had an easier time staying asleep. These benefits may be especially helpful for older adults, who are more likely to report frequent awakenings and light sleep at night.

Aricove Weighted Blankets for Deeper Sleep

If you are struggling to get a good nights’ sleep, Aricove offers a weighted blanket for adults in 10, 15, and 20 lb versions. Our premium bamboo weighted blanket is made from natural moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night. With a satiny soft feel and smart weight distribution, these blankets will target your pressure points and help you to relax for a restful night of sleep, helping you to deal with struggles like frequent awakenings and lighter sleep stages that come with aging.

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