Sleep. We all need it, but many of us don’t get enough of it—especially aging-in-place seniors.

Doctors have long said that sleep is a core pillar of health. It’s been studied for decades by the medical community. As a result, there is now more agreement between researcher’s findings than ever before.

How does chronic sleep deprivation affect the body and mind? Does sleep change with aging? How can seniors enjoy better sleep?

Chronic Sleep Deprivation and its Long-Term Health Effects

Chronic sleep deprivation reduces your mental performance and alertness. It’s also been linked to a number of life and health problems. These include:

  • Anxiety and/or depressionsleep deprivation has been proven to increase the likelihood of having either or both of these mental disorders
  • Developing cardiovascular disease – A study of 20,000 adults who slept less than 7 hours per night had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Increased inflammation in the body – this also is a contributor to cardiovascular disease
  • Weaker functioning of the immune system – one study found that people that are sleep deprived are three times more likely to develop a cold
  • Increased risk of obesity – not sleeping changes hormones associated with appetite, contributing to obesity

Other factors can also impact the onset of these conditions for seniors, such as diet and exercise.

How Sleep Changes With Age

Older adults often develop a physical health problem that affects the length and quality of their sleep, including sleep apnea, heart failure, frequent urination,