WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR SLEEP CYCLE AS YOU GET OLDER? There is no better feeling than waking up fully refreshed from a great night’s sleep. That is because your body used this time to repair and recover, down to the cellular level, from the day’s activities. SLEEP PATTERNS CHANGE WITH AGEAverage sleep cycles last about ninety minutes and include dreamless periods of light and deep sleep and some periods of active dreaming. A typical person would need four to six cycles of sleep per night to feel well rested. However, as we age, our sleep patterns change. Older adults tend to take longer to fall asleep and wake up more often during the night. They tend to sleep more lightly, missing out on the much-needed periods of deep sleep. They also tend to naturally wake up earlier. All these changes translate to less quality sleep every night.EFFECTS OF AN AGING SLEEP PATTERNBecause sleep is so important to our physical and mental health, losing precious minutes or hours of sleep every night can have harmful ramifications on our well-being. Here are some tell-tale signs you might be sleep deprived:Feeling tired, unmotivatedDifficulty concentratingBeing more forgetfulFeeling irritable, moodyNeeding to napSleep deprivation can affect anyone, regardless of age, but older adults should be aware that, although they are in bed for an adequate amount of time, they still might not get enough quality sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation, if left unchecked, can lead to long term problems such as:DiabetesDepressionHeart problemsHigh blood pressureObesityWeakened immune systemWAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITYSleeping well is the beginning to good health. There are many sites and articles addressing good sleep hygiene which is always a great starting point. Some of the most common recommendations include:Eating a healthy, balanced dietExercising regularly (but not at bedtime)Keeping a regular wake/sleep scheduleAvoiding stimulants, like caffeine, in the eveningAvoiding electronics at bedtimeAvoiding naps during the dayAside from these health habits, natural supplements like magnesium can help your body relax and promote a more restful sleep. Magnesium supports the muscular and nervous systems, and may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety. Taking a supplement like the RLS-H Formula can help you fall asleep faster and stay sleeping longer.Now that is great news!