Sleep Helps You Rejuvenate: Aging Doesn’t Have to Slow You Down

Getting proper sleep may not be the same as finding the mythical fountain of youth but it is true that sleep helps you rejuvenate.

No one wants to grow old, and there are many realities about aging that are unappealing. The onset of poor vision, bad hearing, and joint pain are enough to make anyone cringe. Before you get any more depressed, however, there is some good news: Studies show that with decent sleep aging may not have to be as terrible.

There are certain things we have done all our lives that can dull with age, for example, decision-making and quickly identifying problems. This is known as cognitive functioning. Things that require critical thinking and acting in an appropriate amount of time were recently the focus of a study conducted by a team of medical researchers. What they found was that important skill sets such as these cognitive functions don’t have to slow down by as much as you might think.

The key is sleep. Sleep is vital for every aspect of our existence. It helps heal the mind, body, and spirit. This may seem simplistic, but more and more research is showing it to be true. Sleep can help with aging in a number of ways. A solid night’s rest on a regular basis can slow aging and help improve cognitive function. No matter your age, clear thinking and alertness are benefits that sleeping well can provide. On the flip side, poor sleep habits can adversely affect health and aging. Foggy thinking and poor decision-making are only a few of the things that can occur when sleep is poor or consistently interrupted.

Sleep is vital and is one of the cornerstones to good health and overall well-being. Our bodies are able to repair, rejuvenate, and prepare for the coming day with a good night’s sleep. But sleep can seem fleeting as a person gets older, and some people know this all too well. Restless sleep can bring about many negative effects—poor memory, tiredness during the day, increased anxiety or depression, and a higher risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. It’s no wonder that these conditions are so prevalent among the elderly.

But another health issue related to poor sleep quality or getting less sleep may surprise you: an increase in pain in older people. The fact is, as we get older pain levels increase and conditions like arthritis set in. A survey of people over age 65 revealed that about 80 percent complained of pain all over their bodies. For those 60 or older, lifelong sleep patterns seem to be an accurate predictor of just how high their pain levels will be as they age. This is one good reason to strive for deep and uninterrupted sleep every night.

If you’re already in pain or haven’t slept well for years, it’s never too late to change your sleep habits. Sleep quality gets even more important as we age. You may actually reduce your pain and anxiety levels by improving your sleep patterns, since both physical and mental symptoms are linked to a lack of sleep.

Again, getting a good night’s rest may be easier said than done, particularly for the elderly, but there are many treatments available to help improve sleep quality. Seeing a sleep specialist for treatment may improve some of the physical and emotional difficulties you are dealing with, and help you better enjoy your life as you age.

Age really is just a number. With adequate amounts of sleep, improved health is possible at any age. Taking care of yourself as you age can be as simple as getting a good night’s rest. Even though it seems too good to be true, the reality is that good sleep is truly one of the foundations of good health. Perhaps you can sleep better tonight knowing that sleeps help you rejuvenate and that your age does not have to define your mental and physical health.