I am not a scientific study, but I am getting older. As I’ve gotten older my body has changed, which is pretty normal. When I was younger I could eat pizza and hot dogs and fried chicken at any time of the day or night, and when it came time to go to bed, I did just that. As I’ve gotten older, though, when I eat pizza and hot dogs and fried chicken, those foods tend to repeat on me. Often at night, I find myself reaching for antacids to counteract the reflux that I’m experiencing after having eaten these foods. If you haven’t experienced GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), consider yourself lucky. It’s estimated that 15-30% of the population of the US suffers from this. I was diagnosed with GERD by my asthma specialist a few years ago. She explained to me that when you try to sleep with GERD, the acid rises from your stomach to your esophagus. This means that you shouldn’t lie flat on your back, but instead, sleep in an elevated position to keep the acid down. GERD is just one change that some people experience, especially as they get older. But what else happens to us as we age with relation to sleep?
As we age, we become more likely to develop health conditions - some more, and others less, severe than others. A variety of these conditions, such as sleep apnea, snoring, and restless leg syndrome, can drastically affect the quality of our sleep. If we take medications to treat any conditions we may have developed, these medications might also cause poor sleep.