How sleep patterns change as you age

When we’re so focussed on daily tasks, we rarely think about the other half of our time: When we’re sleeping. We spend almost half our lives asleep, and though we may not realize it, our sleep patterns change as we age.

To maintain optimal health, it’s important to understand what these changes are to both your physical and mental needs.

Why we sleep more growing up (from birth to teen years)

There’s a reason newborn babies tend to sleep throughout the day. Their brains are developing and they are constantly learning new things, and sleep is vital when it comes to their growth. This continues all the way to puberty, when the growth hormone is at its highest. Sealy mattresses are not only for grown ups – did you know we also manufacture cot mattresses? Sealy cot mattresses are manufactured with a non-allergenic, anti-bacterial material and a pocket innerspring system designed to support babies’ growing bodies.

Children need at least 12 hours of sleep. This gradually decreases as they enter their teens. Teenagers experience slower sleep pressure, meaning they feel the desire to sleep later than an adult would. As a result, teenagers typically have high energy levels throughout the evening and night.

Little wonder most parents struggle to keep up with the teenage angst of their kids and their associated sleep patterns!

Parents need to play an active role during these formative years. Setting ground rules and limiting certain activities may help manage this potentially difficult situation. While it’s tempting to pass on your old mattress to your young teenager, it’s advisable to invest in a mattress that will support them as they grow, encouraging the best possible sleep.

Adult years – from 20 to 40

As you enter adulthood, your priorities and time commitments naturally change. Typically, the sleep pattern of a healthy adult requires six to nine hours of sleep. Depending on a number of factors, like lifestyle and responsibilities, being deprived of sleep in your adult years is felt more acutely than in your teens.

You have more on your mind as an adult. Work, marriage and having kids can take a toll on your stress levels, thus affecting your sleep.

Even though your college party days may be behind you, alcohol overconsumption is a real thing and will lead to sleep problems. This not only affects your mental health during the day, but can also affect your ability to sleep well at night.

To really get a good night’s rest, it’s important to view the bedroom as a place to relax and unwind. Avoid making late night phone calls or working on your tablet.

Reserve the bedroom for sleeping and intimacy.

How Sleep Affects Older People (Ages of 50 to 60)

As you pass middle age and move into the realm of seniorhood, sleep can become more of a problem. As you grow older, you produce less growth hormone, and as a result, you experience less deep sleep or REM (rapid eye movement), which is a restorative sleep.

Elderly people tend to sleep and wake early. Sleep patterns are likely to be fragmented as a result of reduced REM. Reduced sleep in older adults can lead to depression and trouble recalling events during the day.

People at this age tend to fall asleep easily, but have difficulty maintaining quality sleep. As a result, the body produces less melatonin.

This can lead to a lot of physical problems, like diabetes, weight problems and even breast cancer. What’s worse is that senior adults tend to need more medication for their various ailments, which can compound sleep problems.

Overcoming sleep problems at any age

Sometimes you need to put in a little extra effort if you want to improve your sleep patterns. If you’re trying to sleep better, try the following things:

Do aerobic exercises

The benefits of exercise can never be overstated. Studies have shown that performing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four times a week can help seniors sleep a lot better at night.

Avoid caffeine when possible

Most of us can’t help but drink our fill of caffeine on any given day. But that cup of black coffee can cause your nervous system to become over-stimulated, keeping you wide awake when you need to get some shut-eye. Limiting your caffeine intake or avoiding it entirely is important if you’re having problems with insomnia.

Use a quality mattress

Even if you have gotten used to your mattress, you should take note when it doesn’t feel right. That aching back you feel first thing in the morning might mean you should look into finding a replacement. This is especially true if your mattress is seven years or older.

Quality sleep is important at any age. Take the proper steps to balance your life, ensuring you maintain a healthy physical and mental state. This will go a long way towards helping you sleep, thus allowing you to have the life you deserve.