Being unable to sleep is certainly no fun for your older family member. It can make them cranky the next day and may even impact their ability to think clearly or remember things. However, new research suggests that a lack of sleep may have effects even worse than that. A new study shows that not getting enough sleep could result in heart problems.
Heart Health and Sleep Study
The study was conducted by researchers in China. It involved 487,200 adults. The average of the participants was 51. None of them had a history of stroke or heart disease. The participants were asked to report whether they had any of the following problems three or more times per week:
- Difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.
- Waking up too early.
- Difficulty maintaining focus during the day because of a lack of sleep.
The researchers followed the participants for 10 years. During that time, there were 130,000 cases of heart attack, stroke, and other similar diseases among the participants. In comparison to people who did not have signs of insomnia, participants who indicated they had all three of the problems listed above had an 18 percent higher chance of developing a heart-related disease.
Tips for Better Sleep
Although the study does not prove that a lack of sleep causes heart problems, it does underline the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. If your older family member struggles to sleep well, there are some things that can help them to get more sleep, such as:
- Establish a Routine: Getting up and going to bed at consistent times each day reinforces the body’s internal clock, which then signals the body when it is time to go to sleep.
- Spend Time in the Sun: Increasing the amount of time the senior spends in the sun each day also helps with circadian rhythm. If the temperatures are too hot or too cold to be outside, seniors can opt to sit in a sunny window for a while. A bright light device in the home can provide artificial sunlight, too.
- Spend Less Time in Front of Screens: In the evening hours, it can help to limit the amount of time an older adult uses screens that emit blue light, like computers, tablets, and smartphones. Blue light has been shown to increase wakefulness.
- Wind Down: Encourage changing to relaxing activities in the evening hours, such as reading or listening to music.
Home care can help older adults to create better habits that improve their sleep at night. By scheduling a home care provider to come each morning and each night at the same time, you can help your aging relative to follow a more consistent schedule for getting up and going to bed. A home care provider can help them to get up each morning, get dressed, and make them a healthy breakfast. At night, a home care provider can read to the older adult, turn soft music on the radio, or just engage in some relaxing conversation.
If you or an aging loved one is considering home care in Sedalia, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 303-953-9924.