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Aging and Sleep: 11 Sleeping Tips for Older Adults

Aging and Sleep: 11 Sleeping Tips for Older Adults


Aging and Sleep: 11 Sleeping Tips for Older Adults

Failing to get a good night’s sleep can impact how we function during the day. It can impact our cognitive abilities and memory.

The sleep you need also changes over time. As a senior, this might mean that you go to bed much earlier than you did at a younger age but you also get up earlier too. 

Aging and sleep issues often go hand in hand. You may not need as much sleep as you once did, but seniors still need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested. 

If you’re a senior struggling to get a good night’s sleep, read on for a list of tips to help you get the sleep you need.

1. Consider Underlying Health Issues First

While it’s true that many seniors struggle with sleep issues, there are times when these issues are a secondary side effect of other health-related conditions.  

Some health problems that commonly cause sleep problems include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease 
  • Lung or heart conditions
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Urinary issues from an enlarged prostate or overactive bladder
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Also, take a close look at medications that might be creating side effects that are impacting sleep habits. 

2. Get Rid of Daytime Naps

Sure, we all love a good snooze in our chair late in the afternoon. Yet, these little cat naps can actually be preventing you from sleeping at night. 

Your body only needs so much sleep. When you take those naps during the day, you are making it harder for yourself to fall asleep later. 

If you feel yourself getting sleepy during the day, ask yourself if you have had enough water today. 

Instead of staying put when you feel sleepy, try getting up and moving around a bit. If you know you’re normally sleepy in the afternoons, plan to take a short walk then. 

If you must nap, try hard to limit your nap time to 20 minutes. This prevents you from getting into a deep sleep that will take away from your slumber time later.

3. Pay Attention to Your Diet

The diet of a senior can also impact their sleep. 

Caffeine, especially late in the day, can affect your ability to sleep later. Alcohol is another sleep busting culprit. While some believe alcohol might help them go to sleep, it actually disrupts sleep rhythms.

Watch sugar intake and remember that sugar is hidden in many foods like white bread and pasta. The higher levels of sugar in your body can interrupt your sleep later in the night. 

Likewise, a meal of spicy foods can cause indigestion that keeps you awake late at night. 

Do you wake up many times during the night needing to go to the bathroom? Try limiting your liquid intake for an hour or two before bed. 

Before bed try a light snack like a banana or yogurt and consider taking vitamins that help you sleep.

4. Get Daytime Exercise

When you exercise, your body will release chemicals. These chemicals help you get a restful night’s sleep later. You might be thinking, “I don’t get around well, how can I exercise?” 

There are many options for movement and exercise, even for those who have some mobility issues. 

Swimming and water aerobics are great aerobic exercises that don’t have the impact on your joints than some other exercises might. Take up golf or tennis to get moving. Even doing some daily gardening helps to get you moving. 

Can’t go for a three-mile walk anymore? That’s okay, you can still do several small walks each day. 

For those that want to stretch their muscles but have more limits, many seniors are enjoying chair yoga. 

5. Work on a Sleep Routine

When you have an infant, you teach them about how to go to sleep. With children, you also establish bedtime routines that help them prepare to go to sleep. 

As a senior, you need sleep routines too. When you have fewer commitments, it’s easy to get off on your schedule. 

To get the best sleep and to make sure your body knows when to sleep and when to wake up, you need to stick to a sleep routine. This means you go to bed at the same time each night. 

If you feel sleepy earlier than you used to, then adjust your bedtime. Going to bed at the same time each night helps your body know it’s time to sleep. 

Also, get up at the same time each morning. 

6. Create Bedtime Rituals

When we were little our parents would read us a story before bed. We got a kiss goodnight and maybe said our bedtime prayers. 

There’s a reason parents universally create these bedtime rituals with kids. It works to tell our brain and body it’s time to sleep. The same is true as a senior. 

Maybe you take a hot bath before bed. You could play some relaxing music.  Practice some deep breathing exercises to calm your body. 

Put on comfortable pajamas that make you relax. An hour before bed, try even having a decaf cup of tea or warm milk. 

7. Bedrooms for Sleep and Sex Only

You (and your brain) need to view your bedroom as the place where you sleep and have intimate interactions. 

So, often in today’s world, we move the TV into the bedroom. Pretty soon, you’re laying in bed watching TV late into the night, instead of sleeping. 

Avoid setting up a desk in your bedroom for hobbies or work-related activities. 

Think about your bed coverings. Do you wake up too hot in the night? You want your room to be cooler, so maybe think about a fan. It creates white noise and helps to keep you cool while you sleep.

Layer your bedding so it’s easy to push back some layers if you want to be cooler while you sleep.

8. Get Rid of Late Night Stimuli

Your brain needs time to shut down and get ready for sleep. It will help this to happen when you avoid overstimulation a few hours before bed. 

This means avoiding electronics if at all possible. Watching the blood pumping movie might be interesting but your body is then filled with adrenaline and not ready for sleep. 

Likewise, try to avoid using your electronic devices like a phone, iPad, or e-reader before bed. They all have blue light that can impact your brain and prevent it from settling down for sleep.

9. Address the Stress in Your Life

No matter your age, stress happens. When a person is feeling stressed and anxious, their brain works overtime, and falling asleep can feel impossible. 

When we worry or feel anxiety, our minds work overtime. So, you need to find a way to address the stressors you feel. 

Find a friend to talk through your worries with. Keep a journal. Sometimes just writing them down on paper helps work them out in your mind. 

Practice deep breathing and soft stretching to release some of the anxiety from your body.

When you go to bed feeling stressed, choose a happy memory to relive inside your head and focus on the memory instead of the worries.

10. Consider Snoring Issues

Whether you are the snorer or you sleep next to someone who snores, you know it can greatly impact restful sleep. 

If you are the snorer, talk to your doctor. The doctor can order a sleep study to evaluate your level of sleep apnea. C-pap machines help with breathing while snoring and can change the quality of your sleep.

Sometimes just finding the right pillow can change the angle of your head and help with snoring. 

11. Avoid Using Sleep Aids

If you’re not sleeping well and are feeling desperate for a good night’s sleep, it’s understandable to want to take a sleep aid.

A sleep aid, whether over the counter or prescription, can provide some temporary relief, it doesn’t address the issues related to insomnia. 

The pill might help you sleep one night, yet it is masking the reasons for your insomnia.  

Sure,  you might just want a decent night’s sleep. In the long run, you’re better off trying to figure out why you are having insomnia and address those issues instead of covering them up with a sleep aid.

Understanding the Impacts of Aging and Sleep

As we age our sleep patterns change and our sleep needs change. But just because you are aging doesn’t mean you don’t need a good night’s sleep. 

If you’re struggling with aging and sleep-related issues, try one or more of these tips to get you the good night’s sleep you deserve. 

For more interesting articles like this one, be sure to visit our page often.

 

Health

7 Brilliant Tips and Tricks on How to Get More Deep Sleep

7 Brilliant Tips and Tricks on How to Get More


7 Brilliant Tips and Tricks on How to Get More Deep Sleep

According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), 50-70 million people in the U.S. have some sort of sleep disorder. Insomnia is the most common disorder, followed by obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

Sleep deprivation can lead to heart problems, obesity, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, depression, and chronic kidney disease.

Everyone’s sleeping needs are different, but to function properly during the day, you need at least 5-6 hours of sleep. This is when the body goes through deep regeneration and rest, and the brain processes the information it absorbed the previous day.

Check out these seven useful tips on how to get more deep sleep and wake up well-rested and feeling great the next morning.

1. Remove All Electronics From the Bedroom

Want to know how to get deep sleep without interruptions? Don’t sleep in a room full of electronic devices. 

Not only are they distracting, but they also emit blue light which can hinder your ability to fall asleep. Not to mention screens put an enormous strain onto your eyes and make your brain stay active to process useless information.

2. Boost Your Melatonin Production

Melatonin is the hormone your body produces at night that’s responsible for making you sleepy. One of the reasons why you’re not getting enough deep sleep can be a melatonin deficiency.

This can wreak havoc on the body and lead to a host of physical and mental issues like depression, heart problems, and reduced focus and productivity.

The body typically starts producing the most melatonin around 9-10 pm. In normal conditions, this is when you’d start to get sleepy and drowsy. However, if your melatonin levels are low or disrupted, consider taking supplements to help balance them out. You should also try sleeping in a completely dark room and remove all sources of light before bed. 

3. Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

If you go to bed at a decent time but have trouble actually falling asleep, coffee may be the culprit. Look into the amount of caffeine you consume during the day and see what time you have your last coffee of the day.

Caffeine is a strong substance and the body needs several hours to completely flush it out of the system. For example, if you had your last coffee at 4-5 pm, your body may still have caffeine in it at 10-11 pm. Some people metabolize caffeine faster, and others slower.

To see if coffee affects your sleep, do an experiment and reduce your consumption or eliminate it altogether. You can have decaf coffee during the day to help you transition, but some teas and energy drinks also have caffeine, so be careful.

4. Create a Bedtime Routine

You can actually learn how to fall asleep easier and it’s not by counting sheep. Notice your habits a couple of hours before bedtime. Are you on your phone scrolling through social media? Do you drink coffee at night or leave your daily exercises for the evening?

These activities can overstimulate your body and brain, making it difficult to fall asleep. This is why you need to create a bedtime routine which should begin depending on how much deep sleep should you get to wake up rested.

The routine should include relaxation activities and winding down rituals, and you should go to bed at the same time every night, weekends included. 

5. Get a New Mattress

One of the most common reasons why you can’t get quality sleep is an old, low-quality pillow and mattress. 

A pillow that’s too soft and doesn’t provide sufficient support for the head and neck can lead to breathing problems and disrupted sleep. A mattress that doesn’t support the back and consists of low-density materials can lead to back problems and sleepless nights.

The best mattresses are made of high-density memory foam that’s breathable, adapts to your body weight and shape, and is firm enough to survive your tossing and turning. High-quality mattress brands like Layla Sleep don’t come cheap, but you get what you pay for.

6. Synchronize Your Sleep Cycle

Sleep occurs in several cycles, but not all of them are deep sleep. One cycle is around 90-120 minutes long and there are 4-5 in one complete sleep cycle.

You get the best quality sleep in the hours between 11 pm and 2 am, which means if you’re not in bed by 11, you’re automatically disrupting your sleep cycle. Also, 8 hours of sleep from 11 pm to 7 am are not the same quality as sleeping from 1 am to 9 am.

Want to know exactly how much deep sleep do you need per night? Use a sleep cycle calculator or alarm clock that does this for you. You shouldn’t wake up in the middle of a cycle, i.e. interrupt it, as this leads to grogginess and fatigue. Go for complete sleep cycles because this way, no matter how many hours you sleep, you’ll wake up well rested.

7. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress is the no. 1 enemy of your mental and physical health, and consequently, your sleep. If you have a stressful, fast-paced job or you’re going through a personal rough patch and not getting enough rest, your sleep will suffer.

The brain produces stress hormones that make the nervous system overly-alert, even at night. When stress reaches a peak point, you start getting less and less sleep and may even struggle with insomnia.

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is to meditate for 10-15 minutes before bed. You can also do some light yoga, listen to soothing music, have a cup of Valerian tea or do your bedtime routine.

Use These Tips To Learn How to Get More Deep Sleep

Quality sleep is essential to our wellbeing. Sleep deprivation can lead to brain fog, reduced productivity, irritability, and depression.

If you’re suffering from insomnia or wondering how to get more deep sleep, these tips will help you get your sleeping pattern in order.

Want more wellness tips and productivity hacks? Check out our self-improvement and motivation blog where we share the best advice on becoming the best version of yourself.

Health

5 Sleep Hacks That Actually Work

5 Sleep Hacks That Actually Work


5 Sleep Hacks That Actually Work

Are you having a hard time catching some zzz’s? A lack of sleep will not only leave you feeling like a zombie. It can also add to your stress levels and cause health problems.

If you have frequent nighttime disturbances, you’ve probably been searching for a way to improve your rest. You’re not alone. According to the American Sleep Association, 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders.

Many Americans are taking medicine at night to help but there are more natural ways that you can get some rest. Keep reading for 5 sleep hacks that will have you sleeping like a baby.

1. Unplug Yourself

We know you don’t want to hear this, but that cute kitten video is going to have to wait until morning. According to a report, 8 out of 10 of us keep our mobile phones on next to us.

The blue light from our phones has a stimulating effect, like sunlight. This tricks our brains into thinking it’s daytime, which prevents us from getting shut-eye.

Try to cut yourself off from cellphone usage 30 minutes before you plan to sleep. You’ll rest better and wake up feeling energized and ready for the day.

2. No Late-Night Foodie Calls

Those late-night cravings for ice cream are no joke. But you have to resist the temptation for the sake of your sleep!

High-fat foods can leave your digestive system running while the rest of your body tries to rest. Ideally, you want to leave 2 hours between your last meal and bedtime.

3. Sleepy Snacks

You don’t want to eat a huge meal before bedtime, but there are certain foods that will actually improve your sleep.

Did you know that cherries are the only natural source of melatonin? Studies show that drinking tart cherry juice twice a day can help insomniacs sleep.

Bananas have a good source of potassium and magnesium, both of which are muscle relaxants. So, have some fruit before bed, it could help you get some rest.

4. Find Your “Zen”

It’s not a shock to find that stress causes a lack of sleep. Which means anything that can help soothe our daily stress is going to improve our sleep.

Try meditation as a form of relaxation before you go to bed. If you need help destressing, plug in an oil diffuser and start a stress journal to unwind after a long day.

Another way to turn your brain off before bed is to prepare for the next day ahead of time. A lot of those thoughts about tomorrow are preventing you from getting to sleep.

Make your lunch, get your bag ready and lay out your clothes for the next day.

5. Get Techy with It

Good news, there are some tech-savvy sleep hacks out there. You can change your display settings on your devices to help soothe your eyes.

There are also mobile apps that will help you track your sleep. These apps will send you a notification when it’s time to go to sleep. They also use data to help you figure out what time to wake up for the least groggy results.

With a little investment, you can even get one of these mattresses. Memory foam creates a cool and comfortable surface for you to rest.

Sleep Hacks for a Healthier You

Getting more rest is something you can’t neglect. Sleep improves your mood, digestive system, and mental health. Before you reach for the sleeping tablets, try some of these other sleeping hacks.

Want to learn more about natural ways to stay healthy? We can help. Check out our health articles for more healthy living tips!