Benefits of Sleeping in the Afternoon for the Elderly

Did you know that your afternoon naps can help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia? Read on to know the benefits of sleeping in the afternoon for the elderly.

Did you ever feel lazy or tired during the daytime? Is it making you feel drowsy and disturbing your daily routine. It can be because of the deprivation of sleep or having a late night the night before. If you want to stop feeling drowsy and have an energetic routine, then having a sleep cycle of six to eight hours regularly is essential. If you ever miss this, you can take a nap in the Afternoon. Taking a nap in the Afternoon will make the cognitive functioning high and energize you. 

 

Old Man Sleeping

 

This problem is being faced by people of all ages. When we talk about the elderly, we regularly come across the elderly going through mental health issues, whose main reason can be the lack of a good sleep schedule. WHO statistics state that fifteen percent of adults who are over 60 have depression, Dementia, or any other mental disorder like Alzheimer’s. To address this issue, they can have a nap in the Afternoon.

To know about the Benefits of Sleeping in the Afternoon for the Elderly, read the article below.

What Is Napping?

To know what napping is, let us understand the difference between sleeping and napping first. Do you know that there is a relation between the amount of time you take a nap and the relaxation it gives? Many are of the opinion that the longer you take a nap, the longer is the relaxation that will offer. But this is a different case and is not true. Research says that having a moderate nap will result in more benefits and gives relaxation in comparison with a long nap. A 30-90 minutes nap is considered a moderate nap, and a short nap is lesser than 30 minutes. If you take a nap longer than 90 minutes, it is called an extended nap. 

Based on these differences, you can identify what kind of nap you have taken that Afternoon.

If you are in search of a nap that serves as an energy booster and makes you no longer feel tired or drowsy, then taking a nap between 15-25 minutes is the best; this is called a power nap. 

If you want to know how long did you take a nap, make use of an alarm clock or sleep tracker, which will help you note the period of your nap and the type of nap you had. 

What is REM Sleep?

Before talking about REM sleep, let us see the stages of sleep. We come across five sleep stages. Let us go through them to understand better why taking a nap in the Afternoon is essential to feel energized and how it influences the brain’s functioning in the long term.

  • Awake: Being awake states that you are aware, alert, and conscious about your surroundings. We come across beta waves predominantly during wakefulness. 
  • Awake and calm: This is the stage where you shift from the conscious stage to getting into sleep. Here, we come across alpha waves that are caused when a wave is given by beta waves to provide a quiet period as the individual slowly drifts into his sleep.
  • First Stage: We see that the brain waves are working slowly in this stage and becoming slowly higher in amplitude. We come across Theta waves in the first stage of sleep. Breathing and blood pressure rate in this period will decrease as the individuals start going into sleep mode. To enter the second stage from this stage, it will take fifteen minutes.
  • Second Stage: We see the slowing down of brain waves and brain activity bursting in the second stage. This slowing down is important to maintain the sleep stage and memory storage. An individual who progresses slowly in the second stage will not be influenced by sounds or lights around. Once the individual stays in the second stage for twenty minutes, he will gradually enter the third stage. 
  • Third and fourth Stages: This stage has delta waves, and it becomes difficult to wake the sleeper who enters the fourth stage. It takes an hour after sleeping to enter the fourth stage of sleep. Once we come to this fourth stage, the sleep cycle starts going reverse but does not go to the pattern of the first stage but goes to a stage known as REM sleep.

REM Sleep

This sleep stage has an increase of brain waves but experiences rapid movements of eyes known as REM, and the body stays still in this stage. The first four stages of sleep together are called NREM sleep. When we reach the ending of the first REM phase, we go back to the stage of deep sleep and into the REM sleep after every 100 minutes. Also known as dreaming sleep because the mind remains non-stagnant as the waves of EEG talk about a state of wakefulness though we are sleeping.  

Nap Duration 

After seeing the stages of sleep, we know how longer naps are different from shorter naps. If you are looking to increase concentration and alertness, you have to enter the second stage of sleep, which is twenty minutes. It will work best for improving motor skills and mood. If you do not want to feel tired and drowsy, avoid sleeping more than 60 minutes, as this will take you to REM sleep. This may make you feel lazy once you wake up from sleep.

Benefits Of Taking Naps

Apart from refreshment, we come across various other benefits of taking a nap in the Afternoon, especially long-term benefits for senior citizens. 

Some of the benefits are:

  • Functioning of hippocampal in adults, mainly for the elderly, that is necessary for:
    • Consolidation of memory resulting in better cognitive performance that will ensure:
      • The overall health of the brain, awareness, better learning
      • Less chance of heart diseases 
      • It will reduce fatigue.
      • It will increase awareness.
      • It will also help in boosting the immune system.
      • Low blood pressure 
      • Increase in the energy levels

 

Elderly woman napping in the afternoon

 

How To Make The Best And Most of the Everyday Nap?

If you want to ensure that your nap time will make you feel awakened and rested and avoids laziness or drowsiness, you need to have these in mind:

  • While you plan to take a nap, pick the place that is free of distractions or noise. A distraction-free area can turn your thirty-minute nap into a two-hour one. If you feel that the slightest sound like pings of phone or sirens will disturb you, pick some earplugs.
  • Plan to have a nap before 3 pm as after this time, it may affect your sleep cycle in the night.
  • Sleep in an environment where the surrounding temperature makes you feel comfortable and doesn’t have to toss in and out continuously from the blanket.
  • Getting a  light therapy lamp, humidifier or diffuser will help in improving the naps and sleep quality. 
  • quilt or weighted blanket can make it comfortable to have a better sleep.
  • Don’t forget to turn the phone to the mode of “do not disturb.” A phone ring while you sleep can be very disturbing when you have a nap. If you are thinking about urgent calls, you can set an automated message.
  • If you are napping in a room that has ventilation with windows bringing light to the room, make use of the curtains to create comfortable surroundings that suit your nap.
  • If you are looking to have better memory, then sleep in dark areas than brightly lit ones. Studies have proven this point.
  • Don’t use a recliner chair. But a sofa bed if possible for an afternoon nap. Always plan to lie down while you are having a nap. 
  • Having the right equipment to get the elderly out of bed is important while taking a nap on the bed.
  • Picking a comfortable mattress with a good and correct kind of support for your needs is an essential factor. 
  • Don’t drink caffeine before having a nap.
  • Make use of a heating pad that will help you relax or benefit you from body pains and aches while you go for a nap.
  • If you have back pain, read how to sleep with lower back pain which will help in supporting your back.
  • You can hold a pillow in between your legs which will support your sleep posture.

Napping in the Afternoon for the Elderly – Final Words

You have to keep in mind that napping is not about making up for the sleep deprivation the previous night. Sleeping for six to eight hours based on your need is essential to enjoy the benefits from napping in the Afternoon. To see that you get a good rest, reading the below articles will help you better: 

Whenever you feel tired or lazy, take the eye mask, earplugs, pillow, blanket, and start napping to ultimately get the Benefits of Sleeping in the Afternoon for the Elderly.