By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s one of the biggest complaints as the years go by—not getting a good night’s sleep.

At tea time at the Eskaton Lodge in Gold River, moms and daughters enjoying a weekend celebration may be worried about sleep time, and for good reason. As we age, getting a good night’s sleep becomes more difficult.

Sleep experts say muscle tissue in our airways loses its tone as we get older, allowing for obstruction that could affect the tissues in our upper airways.

In other words, oftentimes getting older means getting lousier sleep.

Dr. Nancy Appleblatt is one of only two ear, nose and throat physicians in Northern California specializing in sleep deprivation. She believes undiagnosed physical problems are a big reason we might have trouble sleeping as the years go by.

Experts say one way to get a better night’s sleep is getting as much oxygen as possible. European Sleep Design in Folsom caters to people whose sleep patterns change as they get older. An oxygen pillow is a big seller.

A sleep study can also help. Patients are hooped up and tucked in and monitored overnight. It’s a test most of us only think is necessary for sleep apnea and cardiac patients, but more doctors are in agreement it’s a study most of us should have.

We should also have more conversations about sleep with our aging parents or spouse.

“First of all, to determine if they are getting good sleep look at are they fatigued during the day or have lack of energy,” said nurse Deanna Flores. “And if you find that’s going on take them for a short walk after dinner—are they having a lot of snacks after dinner?”

The bottom line, experts say the single most important aspect of getting a good night’s sleep for any age is to not focus on the time we sleep, but the quality. Also, cutting TV and cellphone distractions and keeping the bedroom cooler.

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