There’s nothing better than that refreshed, rejuvenated feeling of waking up after a sound night’s sleep, full of energy and ready to face the day! Unfortunately, this may be more of a dream than reality for many seniors, who tend to experience more fragmented and less deep sleep due to changes in hormone levels. Add to that medical conditions, medication side effects, stress, anxiety, and other factors of aging, and you’ve got a recipe for restless nights.
There are, however, a number of lifestyle changes that can be incorporated to help boost the quality of sleep for seniors. Try some of these to improve your z’s!
- Get up and moving. Increase activity level during the day through exercise, volunteering, engagement in social activities, taking a class or joining a seniors’ group.
- Soak up the sun. Since bright sunlight is linked to the regulation of melatonin and sleep cycles, strive for at least two hours of time in the sun each day, even while indoors, by positioning a chair near a window and keeping the curtains open. Or try a light therapy device to simulate sunlight.
- Create an environment conducive to sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and quiet, with clocks out of view to prevent the anxiety of watching sleepless minutes tick away.
- Stay on schedule. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, at times that feel most natural to you. Many seniors find this to mean an earlier bedtime and earlier wake time.
- Avoid sleeping medications. With their long-term side effects, sleeping pills can actually increase sleeping problems over time.
- Modify your diet. Limit your evening meal to foods that are less spicy and in modest portions, and try to eat at least three hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed, such as warm milk, crackers, or yogurt can stave off hunger while preventing feelings of indigestion.
- Lower anxiety levels. Worries and stress can seem magnified at night. Put them to rest by recording them in a journal, listening to relaxing music, or reading a calming book before dozing off.
If restful sleep continues to elude you or your senior loved one, a trip to the doctor may be in order to check for sleep disorders, interactions between prescriptions, or other conditions.
The Phoenix senior care experts at Nightingale Homecare are here for you around the clock, including providing assistance and comfort during restless nights. We can help your senior loved one stay active during the day, shop for and prepare healthy meals, provide caring companionship and a full range of nursing services for even the most complicated medical needs. Contact us at 602-504-1555 to schedule a free in-home assessment and to learn more.