Whether it is met with denial or acceptance, our bodies age. The older we get, the more our bodies teach us about change. The things that could be done easily before, feel like a task now.When you were a baby, you could sleep like one. But now? Falling asleep and staying that way is routinely difficult. The link between ageing and sleep quality is undeniable. 

Research shows that older adults struggle with sleep quality. They might wake up several times a night, napping more during the day, and generally lack restorative sleep. 

What is the link between ageing and sleep quality?

While Scientists are still working to understand this, they’ve made some discoveries along the way.

  • As the brain ages, a cluster of neurons responsible for wakefulness becomes too active. When these neurons become over-stimulated, systems in the brain that are responsible for inducing sleep become overpowered.  
  • The production of melatonin is reduced because of the overactive nature of the ageing brain. 
  • The region of the brain that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm deteriorates, which may result in sleep disorders. 

Some findings have highlighted the effects of lifestyle and general bodily on sleep health: 

  • When people retire, their routine changes. Their days aren’t led by a schedule, and there might be more freedom to sleep or wake later than they would have when working. Following a drastically different sleep schedule can be confusing to the body, leading to a drop in sleep quality. 
  • Women who are experiencing a menopausal transition might experience poor sleep due to a range of symptoms: hot flashes, depression, anxiety, and night sweats. 
  • Weight gain can lead to a condition called sleep apnea. Those with sleep apnea experience the feeling of choking and gasping for air when asleep.

What can you do to improve sleep?

The causality of ageing and sleep quality can’t be helped, however, some strategies are still in our control to improve this aspect of our health. 

  1. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. 
  2. Avoiding late-afternoon naps. 
  3. Avoiding caffeine after 12 or 1 PM. 
  4. Follow a diet that has a balance of fruit and vegetables, omega-3 fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. 
  5. Do strength training and aerobic training at least 4 times a week for 30-40 minutes. 

If these habits are routinely followed, your sleep quality won’t be at the hands of your body clock. 

You can achieve restfulness by not letting it be affected by the natural changes in ageing and sleep quality.

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