It’s a fact that we simply feel more refreshed when we’ve had a good night’s sleep, and for adults of all ages that means 7 to 9 hours daily. For those over age 65, getting a better night’s rest improves memory, sharpens alertness, speeds up healing, and provides more energy.
Unfortunately, many seniors aren’t getting the restful sleep they need for a variety of reasons. Researchers have linked poor sleep habits in elderly adults to more accidents, diminished cognitive abilities, and even serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. For a senior, none of those are positives if your goal is to continue aging in place within the comfort of your own home. In an effort to enjoy a better night’s rest, there are several tried-and-true sleeping tips that you can use. But first, let’s investigate some of the reasons why seniors suffer from poor sleep patterns.
Reasons Why Seniors Can’t Sleep
Evidence indicates that over half of all seniors have trouble sleeping at least 7 hours per night, and that many of those even battle insomnia. Problems seniors report include difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, or waking during the night and then not being able to go back to sleep. These are the most commonly reported reasons why older adults experience those irregular sleep patterns:
- Physical or emotional discomfort, usually from a chronic health condition
- Stress and worrying
- Certain medications they’re taking
Facing one or more of these sleep disrupters can be frustrating, and especially when they occur night after restless night. But the good news is that there are several proven ways to help guarantee seniors a better night’s rest.
Better Sleep Tips for Seniors
When one or more of the factors listed above are causing sleep disturbances, trying these ideas should help provide a more restful experience:
- Stick to a routine – Retire for bed and rise at the same time every day.
- Tune out electronic “noise” – Turn off the TV, computer and Smartphone, and instead read a good book in bed to relax your mind.
- Take a warm bath – Warm water has a sedating effect on your body, so take a tepid bath right before going to bed.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine – Don’t partake of either within several hours of trying to sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant, and with respect to alcohol there’s a good chance you’ll wake up again when its effects have worn off.
- Drink less fluid – It’s just common sense that if you drink something before going to bed, you’ll probably have to get up in the middle of the night to eliminate it. And that could mean not being able to get back to sleep again.
- Exercise more – When you work out your body it will be more tired and in need of rest when it’s bedtime. Great exercises for seniors include walking, bicycling, Yoga and water aerobics.
- Kick your old mattress to the curb – You can’t sleep if your body can’t get positioned comfortably on an old and worn out mattress. Buy a replacement that conforms well to your body and provides support that’s “just right” as Goldilocks would say.
- Block out the sun – Exposure to sunlight causes our bodies to release biochemicals that can interfere with sleep. Make sure that your bedroom windows are completely covered to block the sun’s intrusive rays.
We Help At-Home Seniors Sleep Soundly
If you’re currently providing at-home assistance for a senior family member who’s having trouble sleeping, the experienced professionals at First in Care are ready to step in when you need a break. Our family-trusted caregivers can help seniors exercise more, prepare them a warm bath, or advise them on what and when to drink before turning in. And if your aging loved one needs to pick out a new mattress to help them have a better night’s rest, one of our highly-trained caregivers would be happy to assist them with that too!
First in Care delivers dependable senior home care services for light housekeeping, cooking, transportation, companionship and personal hygiene, all within an affordable, flexible and seamless package that’ll put your mind at-ease. To learn more about First in Care and why more families in the Bradenton, FL area are entrusting the care of their loved ones in our reliable hands, visit: www.firstincare.com.