If you find getting a good night’s sleep elusive either some or most of the time, use these tips tailored toward older adults to enhance your sleep quality — and your quality of life.
Your sleep environment sets the tone for your quality of sleep, and that doesn’t just mean having a supportive mattress and pillows for your preferred firmness level. You also need a dark, quiet room with a comfortable temperature, which helps you go to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. Even color selections play a part in how your mind perceives your sleeping space, with blue and green creating a calming ambiance and white and beige reducing distractions so you can better relax. Likewise, avoid energetic colors like reds and purples for your walls, as they may hinder your sleep.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is often an essential factor for older adults wanting to achieve better sleep quality. To attain this, set a time to go to bed every evening and wake up every morning — even on the weekends. Sleep consistency helps your body’s internal clock regulate your circadian rhythm, which in turn helps you feel more rested throughout the day. Staying on track with your sleep schedule may also help you better balance your emotions and enhance your cognitive function, leading to improved quality of life, especially for seniors.
Bodies that stay busy throughout the day help seniors achieve serenity at night, making daily exercise at moderate intensity levels a game changer for many seniors looking to improve their sleep quality. Low-impact activities like yoga, walking and swimming for a minimum of 30 minutes a day can help you sleep better, but be sure to get your exercise in a few hours before bedtime so you’re not overly stimulated.
Where exercise helps your body, socializing with loved ones helps your mind. Regular social activities with family and friends in your senior community maintain and strengthen those connections for peace of mind and emotional satisfaction. This in turn helps seniors — especially those in assisted living communities — feel less isolated and may help decrease worries that can keep you up at night.
Heavy meals close to bedtime may cause heartburn, indigestion and other discomfort that makes it harder to go to sleep and stay asleep. Caffeine and alcohol may also disrupt your body’s internal clock if you indulge too close to bedtime. To get the restful sleep you require, avoid eating at least a few hours before your regular bedtime.
Worry, stress and anxiety often keep older adults up at night, but relaxation techniques near bedtime may promote better sleep. Try meditating and focusing on mindfulness or performing deep-breathing exercises as your bedtime approaches to better prepare your body and mind for a great night’s sleep.
If you can’t get ample sleep at night, you may find yourself drifting off during the day, but resist the urge if you can. Short naps may feel refreshing, but longer naps or those taken in the late afternoon may interfere with your nighttime sleeping schedule. If you must catch those extra z's, shoot for brief naps early, then get up and enjoy the fun activities offered at LifeStream at Youngtown.
Modern life means most of us are connected to screens from the second we get up to the time our heads hit the pillow. Even seniors aren’t immune from this digital phenomena because they typically use phones, tablets and computers to keep in touch with loved ones. The blue light these devices emit, however, has the potential to disrupt melatonin production, and this hormone is necessary for restful sleep. Ensure this doesn’t happen by putting down your devices and turning off your TV at least an hour before you hit the sheets.
If you’ve tried all these tips but you’re continuing to struggle with sleep, your best bet is consulting with sleep professionals. Have your regular doctor refer you to a specialist if you suspect you have a sleep disorder or other medical condition preventing you from getting restful sleep. These professionals have the expertise to identify underlying issues and help you address them.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for everyone, but older adults especially may face unique challenges when it’s time to go to bed in Youngtown, AZ. Incorporating these best practices for sleep into your daily routine, however, may help you improve not only the quality but also the duration of your visits to the Sandman. Remember — better sleep is often just a few lifestyle adjustments away, so using these strategies creates a cumulative effect that keeps you sleeping and feeling your best over time.