Sleep and Aging: Top 12 Tips To Sleep Better
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Sleep and Aging: Top 12 Tips To Sleep Better

April 18, 2019 | Life | By Lisa Smith

A popular belief says that the elderly need lesser sleep but this is a complete myth. Experts concur that seniors need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night but, often get lesser than this. Lack of sleep means tiredness and a lack of focus. Overall, poor sleep quality adversely affects the quality of life. So, Lets50 presents 12 best tips for seniors to improve his/her sleep quality.

Why Seniors Don’t Sleep Well

With age, the sleeping pattern changes and seniors often find themselves with disturbed sleep. Some of these reasons are:

  • Seniors often wake up in between their sleep to go to the washroom for urination
  • Arthritic pain keeps them from sleeping well
  • They have disturbed sleep due to recurring nightmares
  • They suffer from insomnia due to anxiety or medications
  • Advanced sleep phase syndrome happens when the body clock says that they need to sleep sooner and yet the seniors continue to stay up late, thus depriving them of a good night’s sleep

How To Sleep Better

Relax Yourself Before Bedtime

The whole days routine of work, chores, and running around keeps the body taut. It could also be that you are worried, stressed, or anxious about anything. All this will make it difficult for you to sleep. So, relax yourself with a warm shower, massage, meditation, or soft music whatever suits you before you hit the bed. If you like writing then maintain a journal and write down everything that worries you or maybe the next days to-do list to relax before bedtime.

Keep The Noise Out

With age, your body will produce lesser growth hormone which will decrease the amount of deep sleep that you have. As you become a light sleeper, even the slightest of noise will wake you up. So, when you are going to sleep, make sure that there is no noise around. For example, shut the windows so that outside noise does not filter in and keep your phone on the silent mode. If your partner has the habit of snoring then use earplugs or a white-noise machine to keep the noise out.

Reduce Caffeine Before Bed

If you have the habit of drinking coffee or even a glass of alcohol before bedtime then you will notice that sleep becomes difficult. The body reacts to the caffeine and keeps it alert. Best is to avoid caffeine a few hours before sleep time.

Reduce The Light

Bright lights at night will reduce the amount of melatonin that the body produces at night. This is the hormone that makes one feel sleepy. Hence, once you are ready for bed time you should switch off the television and the laptop much before that. In your bedroom, during sleep, keep it dark or only dimly lit. Also if you have the habit of reading at night then use another location other than your bed with more light than your bed area and avoid reading using back light like an ipad.

Have Regular Sleep Hours

The more irregular you are with your sleep habit the more difficult it will be for you to sleep.  The senior body functions according to a routine much better. Hence, it is best if you could have a sleep routine wherein you try to get yourself to bed at the same time every day.

Treat The Medical Issues

Medical conditions can keep you from having a good night’s sleep. These include a frequent need to urinate, aches due to osteoporosis, and sudden heart burns at night. For women, menopause can lead to hot flashes and sweating during night hampering their sleep. Sometimes the medicines that you take can also impair your sleep. So, discuss with your doctor as they would suggest the right treatment and medication to help you sleep better.

Practice Yoga

Yoga is a form of exercise that is holistic in nature. Not only does it make the body fitter but it will also calm you and improve your sleep quality. Some yoga postures that help improve sleep are Balasana, Uttanasana, ViparitaKarani etc.

Exercise Regularly

An excessively sedentary lifestyle can elude sleep. So, it is time that you started some exercise – be it walks, swim, gymming, cycling, or even doing a lot of house work. Moreover sunlight will regulate melatonin and so improve your sleep-wake cycles. Experts recommend at least two hours of sunlight a day at your age.

Watch What You Eat Before Bedtime

Don’t have a very heavy meal just before bedtime. Also avoid spicy meals before bedtime as it can lead to indigestion at your age and keep you awake. In fact restrict the amount of sugar and carbohydrate that you consume before bedtime as these will give you a sugar rush in your body and hamper your sleep. If you are feeling very hungry then eat only low calorie food or maybe drink a glass of warm milk.  Limit the amount of liquid that you consume before bed as well and go to the washroom once before hitting the bed.

Don’t Have The Sleeping Pill

Believe it or not but long term use of the sleeping pill will make you an insomniac. Yes, these pills have a lot of side effects and do more harm than good to you quality of sleep. So, try other methods and give up on these pills today.

Have Sex

Sex is not only for fun but it also calms down the body and is therapeutic when it comes to improvement in the sleep quality. So, go on and have some sex, and share a lot of cuddles and kisses with your partner. You are bound to sleep off peacefully after that.

Stop Worrying That You Have Woken Up

Yes, it is possible that despite your best effort you still wake up after a few hours. Don’t stress over it and don’t get out of bed brooding on not being able to go back to sleep. It is best to keep the clock out of the bedroom so that you don’t keep staring at the ticking minutes. Keep your eyes shut and practice deep breathing – this will help you to sleep again.

Seniors often feel that changes in their sleeping pattern is a part of ageing and hence ignore it. However, disturbed sleep can adversely affect the health and needs to be paid heed to. When you sleep better your attention span will improve, it will help your body to mend the cell damages, keep your immune system functioning better, and keep you feeling fresh. So, follow these tips and start improving your sleep quality today.

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