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A person sleeps for almost seven hours every day. He therefore spends a third of his day sleeping. During sleep, his body relaxes and tries to regain strength for the next day. However, the older a person gets, the more their sleep decreases. The night's sleep of a seventy year old is not the same as that of a twenty year old.


The functioning of sleep

The brain follows four very specific phases to put our body into a state of sleep. During the first phase called falling asleep or  alpha brain waves , the brain takes about ten minutes to go from the waking state to the sleeping state. Then it goes to sleep  light or  theta waves . Before moving into the last phase called deep slow-wave sleep, the brain switches to light sleep or delta waves.


Sleep varies from sleeper to sleeper

It should be noted that sleep time varies from person to person. For some, seven hours of sleep is enough to face a day while for others, eleven hours of sleep does not seem sufficient. The elderly often have the impression of sleeping poorly. This is due to the increase in partial waking time, which can reach 30 awakenings per night for a fifty-year-old person. The partial waking times of a five-year-old child are only four or five in number. We can thus deduce that they multiply with age. This decrease in sleep is observed in the fourth phase which becomes lighter sleep.  But it is difficult to compensate the lack of sleep during the night with the morning sleep because the body has already become accustomed to previously set schedules.


What about the siesta?

Whether we are seven or seventy seven years old, napping is part of our daily lives. The urge to take a nap can occur at any time of the day. It comes from daytime sleep. It can last ten minutes in an elderly person and up to twenty minutes in young people. It is strongly recommended to take a nap of twenty to thirty minutes every day, unless you have difficulty sleeping.


About insomnia

These difficulties sleeping can be caused by insomnia or cause this sleep disorder. Many older people suffer from insomnia. Stress, medical problems and various other factors can be the cause. There are two types of insomnia including occasional insomnia which is considered normal and chronic insomnia. If a person has chronic insomnia, it is better to treat it. With age, diseases that can cause sleep disorders such as insomnia arise. These are the  respiratory diseases, angina pectoris, diabetes, bladder problems and taking certain medications.


sleep apnea

Apart from insomnia, sleep apnea is also a factor of lack of sleep. It is due to the total cessation of breathing during the night. As sleep allows our body to relax, the respiratory rate is not the same as when we are awake. It slows down during sleep and may even stop. This phenomenon is considered normal. However, if a person's apnea exceeds five, it is considered a syndrome. Thus, it is better to consult a specialist in this disease to avoid complications.


How to sleep well at night?

Here are some tips for getting a good night's sleep. First, be aware that alcohol abuse in  dinner is strongly discouraged. You should also avoid doing sports very late in the evening. Don't eat  not too much and try to practice relaxing activities like Yoga in the evening. Avoid stimulants and especially try to clear your mind before sleeping. This will help you relax well. There is a method called sophrology to help you relax better. It consists in harmonizing the body and the spirit for a better knowledge of oneself. With that, sleep well!

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