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Importance of A Good Night’s Sleep

Health Matters

June 9, 2014
By Judith Black , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

There's nothing quite like a full night's rest. It helps you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized and, in turn, makes your day more enjoyable. When seniors, or anyone for that matter, don't get an adequate amount of rest, it can lead to problems throughout the day, and can even be an indicator of serious health issues.

An adequate amount of sleep can help improve concentration, repair cell damage in your body and refresh the immune system. A lack of sleep can lead to such issues as depression, memory problems, irritability and increased fatigue throughout the day. If you're a restless sleeper, getting up in the middle of the night can increase your risk of injury from falling, too.

As you grow older, you may have a harder time falling asleep as well as being alert during the day. This is in part due to a change in sleep patterns. The sleep cycle typically includes stages of light and deep sleep. Older adults tend to have less deep sleep during the night and can be awakened easily by small disturbances. The risk of developing sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, which can also keep you up during the night, increase as you grow older, too.

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By Judith Black

If you're experiencing issues with getting an adequate amount of sleep, try these helpful tips:

Sleeping pills, both prescription and over-the-counter, are considered high-risk medications for older adults. Before you use any type of sleep aid, be sure to speak with your doctor. Together, you can discover the underlying problem that's keeping you from a good night's rest.

Dr. Judith Black is the medical director for Senior Markets at Highmark Inc.

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