Sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. But it’s not just the amount of sleep that matters. The quality of the sleep that seniors get is important too. If seniors are tossing and turning all night or waking up frequently throughout the night that can impact the quality of their sleep. Seniors with in-home care services may have an easier time getting quality sleep because seniors may feel safer at home. They also will have an easier time relaxing at night if an in-home care provider is there with them.
Sometimes seniors have poor sleep because of the medications that they take or medical conditions that they have like sleep apnea. In those situations, seniors should talk to their doctors about how they can get better sleep.
Seniors can also try these things to get better quality sleep:
Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate the body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Develop a calming pre-sleep routine to signal your body that it’s time to wind down. Activities could include reading a book, listening to soothing music, or practicing gentle stretches.
Limit Screen Time Before Bed
The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, and computers can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Try to avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment
Ensure that your sleep space is conducive to rest. Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support your needs.
Stay Active During the Day
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep but try to avoid intense exercise close to bedtime. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity during the day.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. These substances can interfere with sleep quality and disrupt sleep patterns.
Avoid Large Meals Before Bed
Heavy or spicy meals close to bedtime can cause discomfort and indigestion, making it harder to fall asleep.
Manage Stress and Anxiety
Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga to manage stress and promote a calm mind before sleep.
While short daytime naps can be rejuvenating, excessive napping can interfere with nighttime sleep. Keep naps under 30 minutes and avoid napping too close to bedtime.
Use White Noise
White noise machines or apps can help drown out disruptive sounds and create a soothing sleep environment. Many seniors use sound machines that offer soothing sounds like rain, wind, or soothing music that can help seniors sleep.
Consult a Healthcare Professional
If sleep problems persist, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. Sleep disorders or underlying health issues might be contributing to poor sleep quality.