How Much Sleep Does a 70 Year Old Need?

We all want to get a good night’s sleep and feel rested and rejuvenated. A quality night’s sleep allows our body to recharge and gives us enough energy for the next day.

Lack of sleep can make us feel irritated, grumpy, clumsy, and impact the quality of our life in general.

As we age, everything changes, including our sleep patterns and lack of sleep becomes more usual. Some studies even imply that older adults age 70 or more need less sleep than younger people, but is it true? Do we really need less sleep we you age?

Read our article to learn how sleep habits change with age and why this happens and find out how much sleep older adults need. Last updated Sep 7, 2020 @ 5:25 pm

How Sleep Habits Change with Age?

Our sleep patterns change naturally throughout our lifetime. While adults need less sleep than children and adolescents, older adults need around the same amount of sleep as their younger counterparts, which is 7 to 9 hours every night.

Unfortunately, a large number of adults 65 or older have troubles falling asleep and sleeping well throughout the night and they get lees sleep than they need.

Seniors often have troubles getting enough of a deep sleep and they tend to wake up frequently during the night, which is why they may feel sleepy the next day and feel the need for napping throughout the day.

Sleep schedules change with age and many older adults will feel sleepy earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.

There are many reasons why these changes occur. As we age, our bodies produce less melatonin and other chemicals and hormones responsible for sleep. Also, some seniors may become more sensitive to disruptive changes in their environment such as noise, light, temperature fluctuations.

Older adults may also have certain health issues that can affect the quality of their sleep. Seniors with certain medical or psychiatric conditions often have poor sleep and poor sleep can often contribute to additional health issues such as attention and memory problems, depression, excessive daytime sleepiness, etc.

Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

There are some things that could help seniors rest better and get a more quality night’s sleep. Here is what they can do:

Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule and Minimize Naps during the Day

To establish a regular sleep routine, seniors should try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Sticking to a routine helps them adjust to a natural sleep rhythm and after some time they won’t have difficulties going to sleep at a particular time or waking up in the morning.

Seniors should also try to minimize naps during the day. Excessive sleep during the day can keep them up at night and they might have difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep.

If they have to take one nap during the day, it shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes.

Exercise Regularly and Spend Some Time Outside

Studies show that regular physical activity can improve sleep quality. Older adults should try to practice some light exercises if their physical condition allows them and finish working out at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will give them energy throughout the day and help their bodies tire enough and prepare for sleep easier.

Also, spending time outdoors and getting some natural light every afternoon can help them sleep better too. 

Avoid Bad Habits

Seniors should try to avoid eating heavy meals late in the night and right before bedtime as this can keep them from falling asleep and interfere with their sleep. They should eat their last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. If they feel hungry, they can take some light snack or a glass of warm milk.

They should avoid eating spicy and sugary foods and consuming coffee and teas containing caffeine late in the day. Besides this, they should also avoid smoking and drinking alcohol before sleep.

Even small amounts of alcohol can affect their sleep. It will make them feel sleepy initially and actually help them fall asleep easier, but it will cause problems later during the night and disrupt their sleep.

While alcohol can affect their sleep, smoking is dangerous for many reasons, including the hazard of falling asleep with a lit cigarette and causing fire. The nicotine in cigarettes acts as a stimulant and it can interfere with their sleep in the same way like caffeine.

Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment

To get a more quality night’s sleep, older adults should try to keep their sleeping environment a cozy as possible.

They should use their bedroom only for sleeping and avoid practicing other activities in bed like eating or working. Besides this, they should keep their bedroom dark, cool and quiet.

Also, they should make sure they have a good mattress and quality pillows, bedding or even an adjustable base that will help them get a restorative and pain-free night’s sleep.

Develop a Bedtime Routine

Developing a bedtime routine helps people fall asleep easier. That’s why seniors should try to do the same things each night before bedtime and with time their brain will associate these activities with sleep and help them fall asleep faster.

They can watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a warm bath, etc.

Visit a Doctor

If what’s mentioned above doesn’t help and seniors still have troubles sleeping, they should talk to their doctor.

A doctor will review their symptoms and run tests to confirm a sleep condition if they suspect that there is a certain sleeping condition that affects their sleep. They can also prescribe medicines or treatments to help seniors sleep better.

Conclusion

Most healthy older adults age 70 need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night to feel rested energized the next day. But, as we age, our sleep patterns change and sometimes due to various reasons we may get less sleep than we need.

We mentioned why this happens and gave a few tips that could help seniors get a better night’s sleep. We hope our article was helpful to you.

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