Art of Aging: Getting a good night's sleep

In this week's Art of Aging series, Lisa Thomas-Laury looks at some common myths about shut eye and some things you can do to get a better night of rest.

It's not your imagination, as you get older, you may not feel as well-rested after a night's sleep. Part may be due to age, but doctors say it could be your overall health.

Even at 77 and retired, Bob Davis is hardly idle.

"There's always yard work and there's eight grandchildren," said Bob.

About 10 years ago, his wife noticed he wasn't sleeping well.

"I was getting irritable and I was becoming a non-energetic person," added Bob.

Dr. Rochelle Goldberg of Paoli Hospital Main Line Health discovered that Davis had sleep apnea, in which a person stops breathing repeatedly.

Dr. Goldberg says she sees that more often in older patients, along with insomnia.

"Twenty to forty percent of older people may have an insomnia problem, women a bit more than men," said Dr. Goldberg.

Dr. Goldberg says it's a myth you don't need as much sleep as you age.

And while a short mid-day nap can revive your energy and alertness, she says don't compensate for sleep deprivation with daytime snoozing.

"Daytime snoozing is more likely to throw off the sleep at night," added Dr. Goldberg.

For Bob Davis, the CPAP machine, which supplies a constant flow of air, made all the difference.

"Rest was enormously better, just like overnight," said Bob.

Dr. Goldberg recommends a regular schedule for bedtime and getting up.

Just like the kids, she says turn the electronics off an hour before you go to bed to let your brain quiet down.

For tips on aging, click on the Art of Aging section.