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Sleeping as We Age

Why is sleep important? 

Sleep is when the body repairs itself. The processes that our bodies go through when we sleep have been shown to affect mood, energy, memory, brain health, and our ability to learn.

What’s stopping us from sleeping? 

Difficulty sleeping is often portrayed as a normal part of aging- but it isn’t. Common reasons older adults struggle with sleeping include: 

  • Getting up to use the bathroom (50%
  • Stress (25%
  • Pain (23%
  • Depression
  • Increased irritability 
  • Memory issues 
  • Increased fall risk 
  • Difficulty with creativity/problem solving 

Sleep Medication 

Most older adults with sleeping trouble (54%) aren’t likely to talk about it with their doctor because they think it’s a normal part of aging. Since they’re less likely to talk to their doctor, a high percentage of older adults use over the counter sleep medicine. 

According to a 2018 study by the National Poll on Healthy Aging, 5% of older adults regularly use prescription sleep medicines (3% use them occasionally). Another 5% of older adults use prescription pain medication (either regularly or occasionally) to help them sleep. 5% of older adults regularly use over the counter sleep medicine to help with sleep;17% of older adults use over the counter medications occasionally. 4% of older adults use herbal or natural sleep aides on a regular basis while 8% reported that they use these natural remedies only occasionally.  

Tips for a better night’s sleep 

Be sure to visit the Ahead of the Curve Resource Directory to find medical care in your community

Check out our online training

Are you Ahead of the Curve? Take our short training any time to learn more about ways to support older adults in your family or community. You’ll learn to identify when someone might need more help and which resources are available for support.

Explore the Washtenaw County Senior Resource Directory

Our easy to use and regularly updated resource directory is a one-stop guide to older adult services in Washtenaw County.