30 tips for better sleep as you age

There are a ton of books and articles on the issue for anyone who struggles with sleep and wants to fix the condition. Few, however, are focused on an age group that is frequently affected by insomnia: the elderly

Why do we sleep less well as we age?
better sleep

There are a ton of books and articles on the issue for anyone who struggles with sleep and wants to fix the condition. Few, however, are focused on an age group that is frequently affected by insomnia: the elderly.

Why do we sleep less well as we age?

With age, sleep habits drastically alter. People who are older have trouble getting asleep, wake up more frequently, and spend less time sleeping deeply. Additionally, as we get older, we are more prone to illnesses that contribute to fatigue. The quality of nights can also be impacted by medication use, obesity, and lack of exercise—all of which are increasingly more prevalent among older persons.

Sleep better in old age

It makes sense to take sleeping pills in order to get to sleep faster or stay asleep longer. However, this is strongly advised against for those above the age of 65. Even beyond this age, sleeping medications are absolutely prohibited by international standards. How then can you sleep better?

30 tips for better sleep as you age

Regularize. Try to sleep and wake up at the same hour, even on weekends. This improves sleep quality and sleep-wake pattern. Go to bed when you’re sleepy, not because the clock says so. After a long night, don’t wake up more than an hour to an hour and a half later than usual.

Accept changing sleep pattern. It’s typical and doesn’t imply sleeplessness. Some people need less sleep. Don’t worry. Overthinking might make things worse. Discuss your concerns with your doctor if required.

Don’t go to bed too early…unless you like to get up at dawn! If you go to bed at 9 p.m. and need 8 hours of sleep a night, it’s perfectly normal to wake up around 5 a.m.

An afternoon nap and longer nocturnal sleep can benefit as you age. 20-minute naps are max. Longer sleep might cause deep sleep and tiredness. Trouble sleeping? Pre-three, nap. You’ll be busy. If you have trouble sleeping, skip the afternoon nap. Retry

Get into the habit of falling asleep in your bed and not, for example, on the sofa in front of the TV.

Be sure to get enough exercise and activity during the day so that you have accumulated enough physical fatigue by evening.

Get out as much as possible. Outdoor air and daylight help the internal clock to stay stable.

Make sure your dinner is neither too frugal nor too lavish. Both hunger and a full stomach can keep you from falling asleep. It is best not to eat 2-3 hours before going to bed. A light snack before bed can promote sleep.

Avoid drinking large amounts of water in the evening so that you don’t have to get up at night to pee.

Do not drink stimulants such as coffee, tea, cola, chocolate milk before going to bed. People sensitive to caffeine should not drink coffee after 3 p.m. Beyond this time, choose decaffeinated coffee or tea without caffeine.

Don’t drink too much alcohol. If a few glasses facilitate, it is true, falling asleep, they harm deep sleep and promote early awakenings. 

Try not to smoke before going to bed. And don’t smoke in bed. On average, smokers take twice as long to fall asleep as non-smokers and they sleep half an hour less.

Eat healthy. A balanced diet guarantees a better shape but also limits the risk of overweight and therefore sleep apnea .

Leave your worries out of the bedroom. If something bothers you, write it down in a small notebook that you leave in the living room. This can help calm the flow of your thoughts and help you fall asleep faster.

Try to relax before going to bed. Avoid excessive mental effort, especially do not do intense physical exercise. But adopt a ritual: prepare the breakfast table , listen to relaxing music, take a walk after the meal, drink a glass of milk…

Avoid bright light for two or three hours before bedtime. Bright light can make it harder to fall asleep. Dim lighting, on the contrary, stimulates the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

If you want to read in bed, use a soft lamp. The equivalent of 15-20 watts is sufficient for playback.

Avoid screens (smartphones, tablets, computers, television) in the bedroom just before going to bed.

A restless or snoring bed partner can ruin your sleep. This usually results in poor sleep. Earplugs are often the only possible help, even if it can be inconvenient.

If you yourself snore a lot and are often tired during the day, you may have sleep apnea. Discuss this with your attending physician.

Create a comfortable sleeping environment. Sleep in a calm, quiet and dark room. If necessary, wear earplugs in noisy environments.

Ventilate the room regularly and ensure that the temperature is around 16-18°C.

Make sure you have a good mattress and a comfortable pillow . It is difficult to fall asleep on a mattress that is too hard or too soft, or in a bed that is too small or too old. The thickness and firmness of the mattress depend on your weight and your morphology. The pillow should support the vertebrae in your neck well. Use sheets made from natural fabrics.

Practice breathing or relaxation exercises just before going to bed or in bed. A simple and effective exercise is to focus on your breathing. Lie down or sit comfortably. Close your eyes, inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Put your hands on your belly and feel your belly rise and fall. Inhale through your nose and feel your belly expand. Exhale slowly and feel your stomach flatten again.

Don’t stay awake in bed. If you feel like you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, don’t keep moping. Get up, read, listen to music , do a puzzle…until your eyes start to get heavy again.

If you regularly have to get up at night to pee, make sure you can easily reach the lamp from your bed. Or leave a pilot light on if needed. However, avoid bright lights. Also talk to your doctor. There are solutions to limit this phenomenon.

Put the alarm clock out of sight if the sound bothers you or if you tend to stare at it constantly.

Do not put the alarm clock in “snooze” mode, but get up as soon as it rings. Lying in bed may seem like a good way to rest, but it’s not recommended by sleep experts.

Light up the room as soon as you wake up in the morning. Open the curtains, turn on the lights… Lots of light in the morning contributes to the proper regulation of the biological clock .

Avoid sleeping pills. In adults under 65, the use of sleeping pills is only recommended in emergency situations, for example, when insomnia occurs after the death of a loved one. In particular for the elderly, sleeping pills carry many risks: risk of accidents, dependence, side effects and interaction with other medications. Sleeping pills should only be used for a short period, maximum two-three months, and no more than two or three times a week.

Source  : maasziekenhuispantein.nl , slapen.info

Author: DoctorMaryam.org

3rd Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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