Dallas Home Health Care Blog

Sleeping Better as a Senior Adult

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Growing older means experiencing changes. Some of these changes are small, like a gray hair or a wrinkle, while others can have a big impact on daily life, such as trouble falling asleep or battling full blown insomnia. Sleep problems not only prevent you from getting a good night’s rest, but they can also wreak havoc on your daytime schedule.

Sleep is essential to the mental and physical health of all humans. While we sleep, our bodies repair damage that happens while we are awake, and refreshes our immune systems. People who do not sleep well are at a higher risk for depression, memory issues, shorter attention spans, and other issues.

Tips to Help Improve Sleep

1. IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP ENVIRONMENT.

Go to bed at the same time every night. If necessary, invest in blackout curtains to shut out streetlights and a white noise machine to cancel out the sound of traffic. Avoid smoking or drinking before bedtime as well.

2. CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR.

A medical condition can prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. This might include an injury that causes you pain, or a health issue that causes you to wake up frequently throughout the night.

3. ASK YOUR PHARMACIST ABOUT MEDICATIONS.

As you grow older, you will take more medication than you did when you were younger. Ask your pharmacist if insomnia is a side effect of any of your medications. If it is, then talk to your doctor about alternative solutions.

4. GET ENOUGH EXERCISE.

Physical activity releases endorphins that improve your mood and help you feel more relaxed. Getting enough exercise reduces stress, which can be a huge step toward getting a proper night’s sleep.

5. SOAK UP SOME NATURAL SUNLIGHT.

Sunlight is necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Unless you are on a medication that advises you to stay out of the sun, get outside during the day. Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D, regulates melatonin, and helps balance our circadian rhythm.

Another good bit of advice is to only use your bedroom for sleeping, and to keep your room free from technological devices, like a television or a computer. Move clocks in the bedroom to somewhere that you cannot see them when you are lying in bed at night. Also avoid reading from a backlit device like an iPad or e-reader before trying to fall asleep at night.

Naps Can Help Improve Sleep

Finally, try a short nap in the early afternoon. Choose a comfortable place with limited light and noise, and enjoy half an hour or so of uninterrupted rest. It can help you get the energy you need to power through the evening so you are not too tired to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow.