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The Science of a Good Night’s Sleep

There are many myths about a good night’s sleep, with one of the most common being that we require less of it as we age. In fact, all adults need around the same number of hours of sleep, though this does of course vary from person to person. However, for a number of reasons, many older people don’t get nearly as much sleep as they need.

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Sleep Deprivation

Lots of older people suffer from sleep deprivation that can be distressing. Insomnia is a common complaint and can be caused by health anxieties or certain types of medication.

Complaints such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea are also more commonly reported in older people, as well as pain from conditions such as arthritis and a need to urinate more frequently, all of which can significantly cut down on hours of a good night’s sleep.

Good Night’s Sleep – New Research

While the health benefits of a decent night’s sleep have been acknowledged by caregivers at care homes in West Sussex, and more specifically care homes in Crawley, a recent study by the University of Missouri has found that 35% of people are not getting enough sleep. The same study has revealed the fact that social activity and sleep may contribute to how healthily we age.

Until now, there has been scant research into the effects of social participation and a good night’s sleep and the way it impacts on the health of the average adult. However, this new investigation has revealed that those people who took an active part in social pursuits slept better than those who did not.

Overall Well-Being

Sleeping well is very important to our overall well-being, and a lack of it can lead to an increased cognitive decline and the worsening of chronic illnesses, so it is not something that should be dismissed lightly. The new research indicates that people in later life who struggle to sleep could really benefit from getting involved in social pastimes, as these boost a sense of inclusivity and belonging – factors essential for an enjoyable retirement.

The results of the research indicate that the more elderly adults take part in sociable activities in groups, the better they sleep. When we are thinking about how best to keep healthy as we age, our level of social interaction and our quality of sleep are often overlooked factors.

However, a good night’s sleep plays an essential role in our overall level of well-being, in the same way that a healthy diet and taking part in regular exercise do. The fact that this connection had been made between sleep and sociability demonstrates just how vital it is that professionals approach the issue in a comprehensive way.

This can be done by emphasising the importance of engaging older people in community pastimes in residential care home settings as a way to boost their sleep and therefore their overall level of health and happiness.

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