Older people and the elderly need just as much sleep as young adults do, which is roughly 7 to 9 hours a night. However, older adults tend to fall asleep earlier and wake up earlier than their younger counterparts. Older people often have trouble sleeping at night for reasons like insomnia, side effects from medicine, or pain-related symptoms. It is important to get enough rest, or you may become irritable, depressed, and increase your risk for falls and other accidents.
Having a professional provide home health care for your elderly loved ones can help them sleep easier at night. You should also consider these helpful tips for falling asleep easier:
Create a Consistent Sleep Routine
It is important to develop a routine before bed that will relax your mind and body.
Create a relaxing routine before bed every night in order to soothe your body and mind before sleep. Consider the following examples: read a book, listen to soft music, drink a cup of herbal tea, or take a warm bath. Another great technique is progressive muscle relaxation, especially if you suffer from insomnia.
It is a good idea to avoid stimulating activities at night, if you can. Avoid eating spicy foods, watching TV, consuming alcohol, or heated arguments or debates with friends or family. All the following may work you up and make it more difficult to relax before bed. Also, stop napping in the afternoon because naps can keep you awake during the night.
The idea is to train yourself to fall asleep, so be sure you go to bed at the same time and in the same position every night and set your alarm for the same time every morning to avoid irregular sleep hours. Be consistent with your sleep schedule and stick with it on weekends and while traveling.
Adjust Diet and Exercise
What you choose to put in your body impacts how you sleep, so it is important to stick to a sleep-friendly diet throughout the day. Avoid eating foods that are high in carbs and sugar, such as white rice, white bread, and pasta because they can lead to restless sleep. It is okay to drink caffeine during the day but limit your intake in the late afternoon or evenings. Try not to eat before bed, but if you must, do not eat heavy.
Exercise promotes restful sleep because of the chemicals it releases in your body, which makes even simple physical activities helpful for a good night’s sleep. Try the following exercises to improve your quality of rest:
- Cycling or running
Anxiety and stress can lead to sleepless nights because worry causes an overactive mind. Develop a strategy to let go of your worries before bed so you can rest peacefully. Common strategies include keeping a journal, checking off tasks on your to-do list, and communicating your worries to your loved ones during the day.
Try not to stress about your difficulty falling asleep because that will only make the problem worse. Worrying only encourages your mind and body to stay awake, so absolve not to worry about a particular problem until the next day. Techniques like meditation and deep breathing can relax you to the point of sleep, so relaxation is the goal, not sleep necessarily.
Improve Sleep Habits
Adjusting your sleeping environment and nighttime habits is an easy way to improve your sleep. Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool, and your bed comfortable. Light, noise, and heat can interrupt sleep, especially as you become older and are more sensitive to those distractions. Refrain from watching TV, working, or using your computer in bed so your brain will associate the bedroom for sleep only.
Start going to bed when you feel tired instead of pushing sleep away, even if it is earlier than you typically retire. Try to fall asleep naturally and avoid sleeping pills and aides. Sleep aides and pills are often a temporary solution and have many side effects. Using artificial lights at night can prevent you from sleeping because it suppresses your body’s production of melatonin, so use low-wattage bulbs and avoid screens an hour before bed.
Contact Assisting Hands Home Care
If you or a family member have trouble sleeping because of age, consider getting overnight home care for seniors. We understand that it is challenging to deal with insomnia or sleeping issues, so our home health care services will provide assistance and companionship during this difficult time.
Call us now at (630) 313-6160 for more information about our overnight home care services or to schedule a consultation for your in-home care needs in Lombard, Villa Park, Elmhurst, IL or surrounding areas.