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Sleep for seniors: more, less or the same?

It’s one of the great health myths that all seniors need more sleep that other generations. Regardless of our age, we all need 7-9 hours of sleep a night to function properly.


However, as we grow older, our sleep patterns will change as part of the natural ageing process. Compared to when we were younger, as seniors we will tend to:


  • Wake earlier in the morning
  • Go to bed earlier in the evening
  • Take naps during during the daytime
  • Wake more often during the night
  • Spend less time in deep sleep


senior napping in the grass


Health and sleep

Poor sleep in seniors is often linked to health issues that affect the quality of sleep. Seniors with cardiovascular diseases, breathing difficulties, chronic pain or dementia will often have poor quality sleep at night, resulting in daytime sleepiness. Equally, the need for frequent night-time visits to the bathroom (known as nocturia) will disrupt sleep patterns too.


It’s not just seniors either. According to a major sleep research facility here in Calgary, the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance, around 10% of Canadian suffer from chronic insomnia. Lack of sleep is one of the most common reason people visit their physician.


It’s not a problem to be taken lightly either. Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, depression and other medical condition. It also has a negative effect on people’s safety at work, at home and when out and about.


Symptoms of poor sleep in seniors

Lack of sleep in seniors can lead to issues not just around drowsiness during the day, but may also case:


  • Lack of attention
  • Memory problems
  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Increased risk of night-time falls
  • Changes in mood


Sleep medication

As we age, we might find it harder to sleep for a variety of reasons. Often, seniors are prescribed medication to help them sleep better, but this may not always be as effective as hoped. According to a study, up to 16% of Canadians over 60 take some form of sleep medication, 85% of which was prescribed by their physicians. More women take sleep medication in this age group than men.


Promoting healthy sleep for all seniors

Our lifestyle directly impacts on our quality of sleep as we age. We all know the advice that we shouldn’t drink caffeine too late at night, or eat our main meal late in the evening. The same also applies to exercise, and and stressful situations.


So, at The Manor Village, we do much to promote a lifestyle that’s conducive to healthy sleep.


  • We serve a healthy, balanced main meal of the day at lunchtime, promoting good digestion.
  • We have a wellness plan for each Resident that includes a tailor-made exercise program during daylight hours. This ensures that the beneficial hormones produced when we exercise do not disrupt their sleep.
  • Our geriatric pharmacists check that the combined medications taken by Residents do not in themselves cause sleep issues.
  • We provide lots of activities to enjoy all day long, keeping the mind and body active.
  • Our residential suites are warm, comfortable and quiet, with good blackout, to create the optimum environment for sleep.
  • Our team take care of the ‘logistics’ of life, including housekeeping, heating, cooking healthy meals, organising appointments, and home upkeep, to help our Residents enjoy stress-free independent living.


The Manor Village sleep experts

All The Manor Village senior living communities have access to our sleep experts. We conduct a simple sleep test in-house, and then our experts will review a Resident’s medical history and their personal health and wellness plan. Our senior sleep experts are highly experienced and can determine key risks, such as sleep apnea, and suggest strategies and lifestyle adjustments to promote better sleep.


Come and see us soon

For more details of The Manor Village approach to wellness and senior living, why not come and see us! We’ll be happy to welcome you to any of our senior living communities in Calgary and London ON. Call us or click here to book your personalized visit, and we look forward to meeting you.