For a lot of folks, of all ages, a good nap is a guilty pleasure. But as people get older, they also become afraid that napping will make them seem “old,” and that they could be branded as “lazy.” And because many people develop sleep disorders as they age, they also worry that napping might make a good night’s sleep more elusive.
Well, close the blinds and grab a pillow because new research now shows that an occasional nap can improve the lives of older people by giving them the energy to take part in social and recreational activities.
Susan Venn, of the Department of Sociology [at the University of Surrey] said: “Sleep is central to health and well-being, but as people get older, the quality of their sleep can deteriorate. They shouldn’t feel guilty or think themselves lazy for having a nap.” (from ScienceDaily article)
There are many reasons why sleep becomes more difficult as we age, including bathroom needs, pain, and worry. In fact, many people who need to get up several times per night to go to the toilet start to restrict liquids during the day, which leads to dehydration, not a better night’s sleep. (FYI, nutritionists say that you can reduce the number of bathroom trips at night by not drinking liquids 90 minutes before bedtime. There’s no benefit to drinking less before that.)
If a little nap helps you feel better, science now confirms that you can sleep without guilt. Sleeping badly can impact all aspects of your life–social, recreational, emotional, and achievement. Napping may help restore the ability to live more fully.
(Of course, if your doctor has other instructions, always follow doctor’s orders.)
The new research called “Understanding Poor Sleep in the Community” is linked to an academic conference on sleep issues among older people, based on the SomnIA (Sleep in Ageing) project (www.somnia.surrey.ac.uk).
To read more, see the article in ScienceDirect: Older People Advised That Taking an Afternoon Nap Can Lead to More Active Lives
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