When you reach the age of 60, your body goes through hormonal and physical changes. You are also likely to retire, which means you are no longer on the clock for a job. This combination of changes can disrupt your sleep routine and leave you feeling groggy and cranky in the daytime. To ease into the transition of the new you in your 60s, learn more about sleep for adults at this age. Here are some tips on how much sleep you need, whether you should nap, and how you can improve your sleep cycle.
Amount of Sleep for 60 Year Olds
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians someone over 60 needs between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. This is essential for the individual to wake up feeling well rested and alert. However, due to your age you can experience changes in your sleep cycle. These include waking up in the middle of the night or feeling tired earlier each evening. Also, due to a change in your daytime routine, i.e., retirees at this age, you may not be getting in as much physical activity as you did a decade ago. As a result, you might wonder if you’ll be able to sleep soundly again. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy this sleep loss, starting with identifying your sleep problem.
Problems Falling Asleep Over 60
If you have health problems, such as sleep apnea, you can find it difficult to sleep through the night. For example, if you are taking certain medications that make you more drowsy, you may feel like sleeping in more often. You could also be oversleeping, or suffering from insomnia, if you have depression or are feeling lonely.
Hormonal changes are another condition that affects your sleep. Your body produces less melatonin, which is the sleep hormone, as you age states the AAFP. When this hormone is diminished your body has difficulty regulating your sleep cycle so taking melatonin as a supplement is a good idea.
Lifestyle changes can also disrupt your sleep routine. For instance, if you drink caffeine or alcohol, or are a smoker, this can stimulate your system and make it difficult to sleep soundly.
Nap Time for Seniors
Should you take a nap if you are over 60? According to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center studies show that napping should be limited for seniors. While this study comes from seniors living in nursing homes, it is applicable to the age-related sleep issues of 60-year-olds. If you do take a nap, the Mayo Clinic recommends falling asleep before 3 pm during the day, after you’ve had lunch, and sleeping for 10 to 30 minutes at most. This way you will not disrupt your sleep cycle at night time, but will wake up feeling energized.
Improving Your Sleep at 60
One way to alter your sleep schedule is to increase your physical activity during the day. By getting more exercise you help your body wear out naturally each day so that you are more likely to sleep more soundly. The UCLA Sleep Disorders Center recommends doing some of the following exercises on a regular basis:
- Basic stretches
- Taking a long, leisurely walk
- Riding a bicycle
By identifying your sleep issues and related health problems, and getting the treatment you need, you can improve your sleep at 60. Whether this involves getting in more exercise or keeping a sleep chart to track your waking times, there are options for sleep improvements for you.