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Sleep Affects Health, Happiness and Mental Alertness ... Now you can measure it at home

Sleep is vital to health, mental alertness, and the body's ability to recover. Now sleep is better understood and you can monitor the quality of your sleep at home.
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Contrary to popular myth, sleep problems are not an inevitable part of the aging process. Yet our bodies do change with time, and sleep researchers have discovered that many alterations also occur in sleep patterns throughout one’s life. Time spent asleep, preferred bedtime and wake times, and depth and quality of sleep – all are influenced by age, according to sleep researchers at Harvard Medical School. The Northwest Geriatric Education Center notes that age-related sleep changes are apparently independent of medical and psychiatric illnesses, and they are not necessarily an indication of sleep disorders.

The most common sleep changes seen in older adults include:

  • Increased time in bed
  • Decreased total sleep time
  • Reduced deep sleep
  • Increased nighttime wakefulness
  • Increased fragmentation of sleep by periods of wakefulness

When people wake up frequently in the middle of the night, daytime fatigue can also rise, along with a greater likelihood of napping or falling asleep during the day. Excessive afternoon napping, however, can lead to difficulties with nighttime sleep. A good solution, according to experts, is a short nap earlier in the day. Naps of 15 to 30 minutes long can help you sleep better at night. If you nap longer than that, you may be too groggy to concentrate afterwards. Excessive napping can also cause a shift toward “eveningness” [link to article on circadian rhythms]. Also, older adults tend to get tired earlier and wake up earlier, which is called “phase advance.”

It is a myth that as we age, we need less sleep. A National Sleep Foundation poll of older adults found a close relationship between the health and quality of life of older adults, and their sleep quantity and quality. In addition, medical conditions can interfere with sleep. The greater the number of diagnosed medical conditions among older adults, the more likely they are to report sleep problems. The good news is that even for people with medical issues, maintaining more positive moods and outlooks, as well as living an active and “engaged” lifestyle (having someone to speak with about a problem, exercise, volunteer activity, etc.) are associated with sleeping 7–9 hours and fewer sleep complaints.

No matter what your age, keeping yourself active and engaged, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve how well you sleep.

Learn more about research and options for sleep and good health at offers sleep tips for elders

  1. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.
  2. Be engaged: Social activities, family, and work can keep your activity level up and prepare your body for a good night's sleep.
  3. Expose yourself to sunlight. Try to get at least two hours of sunlight a day. Bright sunlight suppresses melatonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles by increasing melatonin when it gets dark.
  4. Go to bed early. Adjust your bedtime earlier, to match when you feel like going to bed.
  5. Develop bedtime rituals A soothing ritual, like taking a bath or playing music will help you wind down.

Zeo Personal Sleep Coach

Zeo helps customers discover everything you need for your personal sleep observation. See all of your sleep phases each morning, discover factors that are stealing your Deep, REM & total sleep, and analyze your sleep patterns through online cause and effect tools.

Zeo Personal Sleep Coach plus Guided Coaching provides all of the benefits of Zeo Personal Sleep Coach plus unlimited access to guided coaching. You'll also receive Sleep Fitness™ assessments and personalized coaching advice to address your sleep diet, stress, bedtime routine & more.

Zeo Inc's myZeo iPhone App provides sleep data management application for the iPhone mobile platform. This offering will enable on-the-go consumers access to their personal sleep data, providing a convenient, mobile resource to monitor and manage their own sleep.

The myZeo iPhone App V 1.0 features three distinct functions:

Personal ZQ Breakdown The mobile app showing a comprehensive breakdown of nightly ZQ score which reveals to consumers the amount of total sleep time, Deep Sleep, REM sleep, wake time and times woken throughout the night. Daily Sleep Graph The mobile app featuring a full color, interactive chart that allows consumers to see the changes within their own personal sleep phases throughout the night Personal Sleep Trend Report The mobile app that reveals to consumers the changes in their sleep patterns over days, weeks and months

Editor, Carolyn Allen


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Publication Date: 10/16/2010
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