Has anyone ever told you that you must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed? Well, for seniors not sleeping at night, there are more repercussions than a cranky morning. When we get better sleep, we enjoy improved focus and our body's immune system restores itself, preventing possible health issues. We’re also less likely to experience depression and nighttime falls. If restful nights are getting harder to come by, or if you’re wondering how to help older adults in your life to sleep soundly, here are 10 simple adjustments that will lead to better sleep.
Set a Schedule
By setting and keeping a regular bedtime, even on weekends, we’re giving our body the cues it needs in order to rest well at night and perform well during the day.
Wind Down With Routine
Another trick to getting great sleep at night is to establish a regular set of activities that help you relax before bed – whether that’s reading a book, listening to calming music, sipping on some herbal tea, or taking a bath. Make sure to turn off your electronic devices during your wind-down routine.
Support Your Sleep
If you sometimes experience body aches that make it hard to sleep well and long, try adding some additional pillows to cushion your legs and back.
Drink Less Fluids Before Bed
Nighttime trips to the bathroom affect our sleep, so to give your body the best chance for a full night’s rest, try keeping fluids to a minimum right before bedtime.
Cut Out Alcohol
Drinking alcohol, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt our sleep patterns, making it more difficult to fall asleep, and also waking us up when its effects wear off. Bottom line: Less alcohol leads to improved sleep.
Use Your Energy
Whether you’re walking, gardening, practicing yoga, or playing pickleball, exercising will tire your muscles during the day, so you can sleep more soundly at night.
Get Some Sunshine
Spending plenty of time in the sun during the day encourages our body’s natural rhythms, so when the sun goes down, we feel that it’s time to rest.
Adjust Your Diet
What we put into our bodies matters for sleep, and that’s especially true for seniors. Limit caffeine and sugar and avoid big meals before bedtime. Medications can affect sleep too, so if you or your loved one are taking multiple medications and having a hard time getting good sleep, check in with your doctor about possible alternatives.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…
If you’re lying in bed and just don’t feel tired, give yourself permission to get up and read or do something that will help you to relax before lying down again. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting up after 20 minutes if you’re still awake, then trying again once you feel sleepy.
Consider the Causes
Sometimes our sleep suffers from the stress, anxiety, and change we’re experiencing in life. Finding someone to talk to about any issues we’re dealing with can calm our minds and help us to fully relax when we need to rest.
At Ebenezer, we care for our residents holistically, relying on our Cornerstones to provide support in every aspect of their lives. Take a look at our Programs & Services page to learn more, and make sure to visit our Ebenezer blog for more articles to inspire your health and wellness.