This brilliant article is a guest post by Karen Weeks from ElderWellness.net. I recommend everyone check out Karen’s website as it is filled with great advice for seniors!
The old myth is that people over 65 don’t need to sleep as long as younger adults. The truth is that getting four or five hours of sleep can hurt you. All adults, no matter their age, need seven or more hours of sleep per night. In fact, getting plenty of sleep can actually boost your health. According to Senior Care Corner, the benefits of a full night’s sleep for seniors include lowered risk of mental decline, better memory skills, and other improved cognitive abilities. Who would want to pass up on that?
If you are struggling to sleep, here are some tips that may help you.
Healthy Actions For Better Sleep
First, you should make sure that you are doing everything you can to improve the quality of your sleep with healthy habits such as these:
- Regular Exercise
Without regular exercise, you may not be tired enough for sleep. If the thought of exercise sounds frightening or dreary to you, think outside of the box. For example, did you know golf is an excellent fitness choice for seniors? According to Doctors Health Press, its benefits include vitamin D exposure from the sun, strengthening your bladder, and, of course, improved sleep.
- Balanced Diet
Caffeine and spicy foods can keep you up at night but that’s not the only problem with a poor diet. A University of California study found that kids with type 1 diabetes were more likely to have sleep problems when their blood sugar was elevated. If you have acid reflux, nighttime heartburn can keep you up. Eat a sensible diet and take good care of your digestive system.
- Rehydrate Properly
Did you know that insomnia is a symptom of dehydration? According to Healthy Beginnings, so is snoring, tiredness, and feeling dizzy. For the best rehydration, drink half your body weight in water throughout the day. You can start slowly and build up over time.
Create the Right Conditions for Sleep
Next, make sure that you are creating the best conditions for sleep by taking these measures:
- Create a Relaxing Environment
Before bed, make sure your room provides the relaxing atmosphere you need for sleep. Make sure your curtains or blinds block out all light. If there are loud noises or unavoidable lights, use earplugs or a sleep mask. Diffuse essential oils or use a white noise machine to further aid sleep.
- Have a Bedtime Routine
You should also have a relaxing routine before you get into bed. This can include things like enjoying a cup of warm tea (caffeine-free, of course), meditation, prayers, or a relaxing book.
- Avoid Blue Light
If you use a smartphone or tablet before bed, the blue light from your phone may be disrupting your sleep patterns. Use a blue light blocker, and learn more about the dangers of blue light at The Sleep Doctor.
- Choose the Right Mattress
A mattress should fit your body and provide proper support for your back. Learn how to choose a mattress if you suffer from lower back pain.
Addressing Common Sleep Problems
Jason Harvey of Live Free Home Health Care states that sleep deprivation may go unnoticed in seniors because its symptoms may mimic those of other ailments related to aging. See your doctor or a sleep specialist for a professional assessment of your sleep problems. You may want to journal your sleep habits before your visit.
In the meanwhile, if you are worried about not being able to contact family or having a crisis at night, you may want to purchase a senior-friendly tablet. This can help keep you connected to long-distance family members to update them on your medical issues via email or video calling.
Seniors need seven hours of sleep just like everyone else. If you are falling short, taking steps to improve your sleep will benefit your physical and mental wellness.