Your sleep patterns inevitably change as you grow older. For some, this might mean more sleep, but for other seniors, it can lead to restless nights and even insomnia. Your body needs to rest as you age, so here are some tips to help you drift off.
#1 Maintain a regular bedtime
It’s sometimes easier said than done, but your body’s natural circadian rhythm works best on a regular schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time is a relatively simple step to take, but it makes a big difference. Seniors need, on average, seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but some may need even more. Establish a reasonable bedtime (around 10pm is a good rule of thumb) and then give yourself half an hour to unwind before going to sleep. Set the alarm and try to wake up at the same time every morning.
#2 Don’t nap in the day
As satisfying as it is to drift off to sleep during the day, naps are highly disruptive. They interfere with your sleep schedule and leave you feeling wide awake at night. Napping in the middle of the afternoon, for example, tricks your body into thinking that it’s night time. When you do go to bed, you won’t feel as tired, and it will be harder to sleep. Instead of napping, try a constructive hobby or taking some exercise.
#3 Choose a supportive mattress
Mattress technology has advanced a long way. There’s a reason that nursing home supplies now consist of the most modern, up-to-date mattresses on the market. A well-contoured mattress relieves pressure on muscles and joints, which is especially important for seniors. Memory foam is a fantastic option as it molds to the contours of your body. Generally speaking, firmer mattresses are preferable to soft ones. They might not seem as immediately comfortable, but they offer more support as you sleep.
#4 Eliminate caffeine
Most people assume that drinking coffee early in the morning is safe and won’t affect their ability to get to sleep at night. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Drinking coffee or even tea at any time of the day will have a negative impact on your sleep schedule. Caffeine disrupts your body’s ability to feel tired, leading to periods of high energy, irritability, and insomnia. These symptoms might even be more pronounced in seniors, so it’s best to eliminate caffeine from your diet altogether.
#5 Get active
Activity and exercise can be big problems for some seniors. As aches and pains set in, you might find that your mobility decreases, and you’re less willing to take exercise or partake in a sport. Leading a sedentary lifestyle makes it much harder to get to sleep, though. If you don’t use up your energy during the day, it will keep you awake at night, or at the very least, decrease sleep quality. Instead, try sedate activities like walking, yoga, and swimming to stay active. Your body will thank you, too.