It is a common misconception that you need less sleep as you age. Seniors need just as much sleep as younger adults. Unfortunately, many adults suffer from sleep disorders that prevent a good night’s rest. This can increase their risk of various health problems, including Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C may help seniors attain the sleep they need to thrive.
Understanding the Relationship Between Vitamin C and Sleep
Many people are familiar with how vitamin C benefits your immunity. What many don’t know is that vitamin C may be just as important for sleep health. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of vitamin C had better sleep health than those with lower levels. Those who met their requirements were also more resilient to the effects that occur from occasional sleepless nights.
Here are 3 ways vitamin C can help seniors sleep better:
- Increases sleep duration
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects about half of adults over 60 years old. The reasons why older adults have trouble sleeping can vary from physiological to lifestyle factors. Research has shown that those with lower levels of vitamin C in their blood experience more sleep disturbances throughout the night. This includes waking up frequently during the night and waking up early and not being able to return to sleep.
- Relieves movement disorders
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common movement disorder that affects over 20 percent of adults over 80 years old. RLS causes seniors to experience discomfort in their legs often described as “pins and needles.” This feeling gives them an uncontrollable desire to move their legs, which can make it extremely difficult to fall asleep.
Vitamin C has been shown to minimize the symptoms of RLS. Because iron deficiency is associated with a higher risk of RLS, vitamin C can also help the body absorb and store iron.
- Improves obstructive sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is another common disorder among older adults. Sleep apnea makes it more difficult to breath by blocking the airway while you are sleeping. This disorder can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease and can even affect cognitive health. Vitamin C has been shown to alleviate sleep apnea by improving blood vessel functioning.
Consuming More Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient. This means your body doesn’t produce it on its own, so you need to incorporate it into your diet. Here are a few foods that are high in vitamin C:
- Citruses like lemons and oranges
- Berries, including strawberries and blueberries
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, and leafy greens
Supporting a Healthy Lifestyle at Heritage
The benefits of vitamin C extend far beyond sleep health. Seniors also need vitamin C to keep their bones, skin, and blood vessels healthy. If you or a senior loved one is struggling to meet your vitamin C requirements, it may be time to explore senior living options.
Most communities, including Heritage Senior Communities, have healthy, nutrient-dense meals prepared daily. Contact us today to schedule a tour and join us for lunch and dinner!