Getting enough quality sleep helps improve physical health, brain health, and mood. Unfortunately, many people find it harder to get the sound sleep that they crave as they get older.
Having to face the day when you’ve had no rest can be frustrating but there are steps you can take to achieve quality sleep as you age. Knowing how to get uninterrupted sleep is a good place to start. So, here are things you can do to improve the chances of getting enough sleep as you age.
Understand How Sleep Changes with Age
As you grow older, your body produces little amounts of growth hormone. Lower levels of growth hormone encourage a decrease in deep sleep. Because of this, your body produces less melatonin, so you’ll likely experience more wakeups and fragmented sleep during the night.
You may experience the need to sleep much earlier in the evening and wake up very early in the morning. Also, you’ll likely feel the urge to spend more time in bed at night to achieve the sleep hours you need.
Sometimes, all you want is to take a nap during the day to make up for the shortfall. Most of the time these sleep changes are normal and don’t point to a sleeping problem.
Stick to a Sleeping Routine
Sleep schedule is influenced by circadian rhythm. The rhythm helps the human body learn to initiate and maintain sleep. As you age, your circadian rhythm is more likely to become more sensitive to change.
One of the best sleep tips for seniors is, going to sleep and wake up at the same time every day—even on the weekends. Sticking to a regular bedtime will help your body adjust and get used to the routine.
You can have a cup of herbal tea, warm milk, or a warm bath before bedtime to train your mind and body that it’s time to sleep. Also, sleeping in the same position can help.
Keep Stress in Check
It’s important to let go of stress and anxiety built up during the day when it’s time to sleep. Having thoughts and worries that you can’t get back to sleep at night encourages your body to stay awake.
Worrying can also interfere with your sleep. The feeling of worry is often the result of a hyperactive brain so try to relax by focusing on something calming. Using CBD oils is proved to help people release stress and support better sleep. Check out this link to see suggested CBD products https://www.healthcanal.com/best-cbd-oil/sleep
Some people write their worries down in a journal as a way to set them free. Others focus on their best memories of family and friends to attract more pleasant dreams.
Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Zone
Changes in light, noise, and temperature levels can interrupt your sleep. Light interrupts the natural sleep rhythm so make your bedroom dark. This includes switching off the television, mobile devices, and computer screen.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood, you should consider investing in something that dims the noise. You may as well use tools that produce white noise.
Training your brain to think of the bed as a place for shut-eye and sleeping on the best mattress for seniors can also help improve sleep quality. Investing in a mattress that supports your age and body type can help comfort your body’s problem areas.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine near Bedtime
Alcohol may help you fall asleep but once the effects wear off it can make you wake up in the middle of the night. As most people age, their caffeine sensitivity increases.
Limiting caffeine intake at least 4-6 hours before bedtime can help minimize the likelihood of staying awake at night. Some seniors may need up to 12 hours of no coffee to get better sleep.
Exercise to Overcome Sleep Problems
Workouts—especially aerobic exercises—stimulate the release of body chemicals that promote restful sleep. Aerobic activities help improve sleep quality including sleep duration for senior citizens with a diagnosis of insomnia.
The good thing is that even older adults with mobility issues can find activities to help them with their sleeping problems. Some of the exercises to try are golfing, swimming, dancing, lawn bowling, and cycling.
If you want to participate in an exercise that doesn’t require vigorous movement then you should consider golfing. The walks involved during the game adds an aerobic bonus. Plus, hanging out with friends on the course can improve your mood.
Swimming is another good option. Water exercises (even gentle ones) can strengthen weak muscles, help sore joints, and build up fitness.
Cycling is another great activity for seniors who are good in shape. You can cycle on a treadmill or a stationary bike or outdoors. As a rule of thumb, wear yourself out at regular times each day, but at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid Taking Naps
A nap here and there can be fine as long as you’re sleeping enough at night. But they are bad habits for people having sleep problems.
Remember, if you nap during the day, you may find it difficult to sleep at night. To maintain a great sleep cycle, minimize daytime napping to 10-20 minutes. However, if daytime naps affect your night sleep, avoid napping altogether.
Talk to a Doctor
If your attempts to solve a sleep problem aren’t successful, write a sleep diary and give it to your doctor. This is especially true if a sleep problem is taking a heavy toll on your mood and health.
Write down your medications, recent stresses, exercise, and when you use nicotine, caffeine or alcohol. Specific health problems like obstructive sleep apnea, severe arthritis, and chronic pain can also interfere with your sleep pattern. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist or sleep specialist for insomnia-related cognitive behavioral therapy.
Find Out How to Get Uninterrupted Sleep
Rest assured that a decline in quality sleep and unnatural sleep rhythms are part of aging. But aging shouldn’t necessarily mean restless sleep for the rest of your life. If you’re unable to sleep quickly or feel tired and sleepy on most days, try out some of the tips on how to get uninterrupted sleep in this guide.
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