Getting the right amount of sleep as a senior can help with your memory, reduce your risk of falls and help you feel better mentally and emotionally. It's not always easy to sleep well, though. As you get older, you might have more issues that disrupt your sleep, and you might feel like you're always tired, no matter how much sleep you get. These tips can make it easier to get the right amount of sleep so you can enjoy the benefits.
When you age, you experience many changes in your body, including your sleep patterns and habits. You might find it harder to fall asleep at night, or you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep. Some seniors wake up more often during the night, making it difficult to get enough quality sleep. It's also common for older adults to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than they once did.
Reflect on how your sleeping patterns and habits have changed over the years. Find ways to work with those things to improve your sleep. For instance, if you get sleepy earlier in the evening, set an earlier bedtime for yourself to work with your natural sleep cycles.
Just like all adults, seniors typically need 7 or more hours of sleep each night. However, the amount of sleep that leaves you feeling rested might be different from other seniors. Aim for at least 7 hours, but pay attention to how you feel after sleeping for different lengths of time. This can help you figure out the right amount of sleep for you. Once you know how much rest you need, create a sleep schedule that lets you get that much each night. If you have an early morning commitment every day, that might mean going to bed earlier.
It can be difficult enough to fall asleep as a senior, but an uncomfortable sleep environment makes it worse. Creating ideal sleeping conditions can help you relax and fall asleep faster. Some tips to make the bedroom in your assisted living apartment more comfortable include:
Notice what elements help you sleep better and the things that make it more difficult to sleep to perfect your sleep environment.
Normal sleep changes as you age aren't the only cause of sleepless nights or getting less sleep than you need. Chronic health conditions that are common in older adults or pain from health issues could keep you from sleeping well. Medications can keep you awake or disrupt your sleep.
Seniors can also experience the same sleep disturbances as younger people, such as too much caffeine, screen time before bed, uncomfortable sleeping conditions or stimulating activities before bed. If you have difficulty sleeping, look at the things that could be contributing to the issue and change or manage them to help with your sleep.
The activities you do and the things you eat and drink during the day can impact your sleep. Making healthy choices in those areas can often help you sleep better. Staying active during the day with physical activity you enjoy can make it easier to sleep. Some people have trouble sleeping if they exercise too close to bedtime, though, so pay attention to how your body responds to activity.
Keep caffeine consumption to a minimum, and enjoy it earlier in the day. Drinking caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening could keep you up at night. Swapping out caffeinated drinks for a cup of tea without caffeine, water or other caffeine-free beverages later in the day can help. Slowing down on all types of beverages closer to bedtime can cut down on how many middle-of-the-night bathroom trips you have to make.
It can also help create a soothing bedtime routine that limits screen time. Look for a relaxing activity, such as reading or a warm bath, that you can do before you sleep instead.
Naps can help you feel rested if you get sleepy during the day, but how you take naps can affect how you sleep at night. If you take your naps later in the afternoon or evening, you'll likely have trouble falling asleep that night. This can create a cycle where you feel sleepy during the day and need to take naps, which keeps you from sleeping well the following night.
If you continue to have sleep issues even after changing your habits, talk to your doctor for additional support. Your health care provider might be able to prescribe different medications that won't disrupt your sleep or help you better control your chronic health conditions so they don't interfere with your sleep. They can also prescribe medication to help you sleep, if necessary.
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