January 04, 2018 in: ways seniors can sleep better,
Many seniors complain of not enjoying a good night’s sleep. If one thinks that after crossing 60+, they will sleep like they used to when young is delusional. As we grow older, our sleep-cycle changes. One may have noticed that upon reaching a certain phase in life, seniors begin sleeping early at nights and waking up early in the morning too.
The reasons are multiple –first, their bones are degrading which means that they get tired more frequently, second, they have gone through many hormonal changes due to the medication they are on that has pushed back their circadian clock and third, lack of activities which leaves them with not many options to pass the time.
Whichever is the cause, if sleep doesn’t come like it should or used to, here are 10 tips to help you change that. Let’s take a look below.
Our bodies follow orders directed by our brains. If we train the brain to sleep and wake up at a fixed time, every night, it will adapt to that change and make it a norm. Practicing this overtime, every night even when one isn’t tired to sleep or too tired to get up will establish a routine which will make sleeping easier and prevent insomnia.
Napping interferes with the internal circadian clock. Afternoon naps, in particular, puts the body out of sync and make sleeping time at night very difficult. Therefore, they must be avoided. In case, one does feel like taking a nap or too tired to go on with routine chores, the nap should be limited to 20 times maximum.
Alcohol before bedtime recharges the brain which makes it difficult for it to release melatonin –an essential chemical hormone that induces sleep. Thus, its consumption must be limited to 4 to 5 hours before bedtime. The same applies to caffeine since it also energizes us.
Performing exercises close to bedtime also puts off the internal body clock. It must be restricted to 3 to 4 hours before bedtime at most.
If sleep doesn’t come naturally, seniors can also try inducing it by either taking a warm bath or engaging in activities that stimulate it. For instance, one can dim the lights in the room, read a book or listen to calming music.
The room designated for sleeping shouldn’t encourage the blue light from our smart gadgets research studies to reveal it halts the release of melatonin in the brain since it has a high wavelength and reaches deeper into our eyes.
Since the bones of seniors are more prone to sensitivity and damage, the wrong choice of mattress or pillows can also result in poor and painful sleeping. Therefore, when it comes to investing in both, be sure to purchase one that caters to your body’s needs well. Otherwise, one can expect to wake up feeling pain throughout the body especially neck and lower back.
Distractions can also make it difficult for the brain to sense it is time to sleep. For instance, if one has the lights on or is constantly disturbed by the sound from a portable fan or dripping water from a faucet in the adjacent bathroom, it can trick the mind into thinking it is daytime and thus, the time to remain active. This will, of course, slow down the release of melatonin or even complexly stop it, making the individual waste hours before sleep final comes.