How Poor Sleep Impacts Senior Health

Elderly Care in Glenview IL: How Poor Sleep Impacts Senior Health
Elderly Care in Glenview IL: How Poor Sleep Impacts Senior Health

You can probably tell when your senior parent hasn’t gotten a good night’s sleep. They might be grumpy, sluggish, or irritable. But, did you know that not sleeping well can impact your parent’s health? In general, adults need between six and eight hours of sleep to maintain good health. When a person gets less sleep than that on a regular basis, they may become sleep deprived and their health may be affected. Below are five ways that poor sleep could make your parent sick.

#1 Sleeplessness Increases Waist Size
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep were more likely to have a larger waist size than those who got the recommended amount of sleep. In one study of 1,600 adults, those who slept only six hours per night measured an average of one inch more in waist circumference than those who slept nine hours. Those who slept less also weighed more and had a lower good cholesterol level.

#2 Sleep Affects Brain Function
Sleep is necessary for the brain to form new links between neurons that allow for learning and remembering new information. Without enough sleep, the brain doesn’t work as well and can affect decision making and reduce coordination. Lack of coordination can lead to accidents, such as falls. Lack of sleep also increases risk of depression, paranoia, and impulsive behaviors.

#3 Lack of Sleep Impairs the Immune System
When people feel ill, they often head for bed. This may be the body’s natural response to illness because the immune system builds up its defenses. During sleep, the immune system creates cytokines, which fight infection. When a person lacks sleep, they may take longer to recover from illness.

#4 Losing Sleep Raises Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that even one night of sleeplessness can increase blood pressure for the entire next day. Research also shows a link between lack of sleep and cardiovascular disease and stroke.

#5 Sleep Affects Diabetes Risk
Not getting enough sleep affects the way the body’s insulin levels. In one study, participants who reduced the number of hours of sleep they got at night were not able to use glucose as quickly as they could when they slept more. Several other studies have shown that people who sleep five or less hours per night on a regular basis are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

If your parent is having difficulty sleeping, an elderly care provider can help them to practice better sleep habits. An elderly care provider can help your parent to stick to a regular bedtime routine, which can signal the body that it is time to sleep. Another way that elderly care providers can help is by keeping your parent more active during the day so that they will be tired at night. Elderly care providers can also remind your parent to turn off electronics an hour before bedtime and create a calming mood.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Glenview, IL, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.

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