As you age, you don’t sleep as deeply as you did in your twenties. You wake up for a bevy of reasons—or for no reason in particular. If you’re concerned about getting as much shuteye as possible, here are five helpful sleeping tips for seniors.
Deal with Your Snoring
When you snore, you wake up because you’re not taking in enough oxygen, or simply because your snoring is too loud. One way to address this is with a CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, machine. Sleeping with a CPAP machine involves wearing a mask that delivers air to ensure your airways don’t collapse and restrict airflow when you sleep. This stops your snoring and helps you get to a deep sleep state.
Address Your Urination Concerns
Many seniors awaken during the night because they need to go to the bathroom or accidentally wet the bed. This is a clear obstacle to good sleep. One of several ways to minimize bedwetting is to limit your nighttime caffeine and alcohol consumption. While it’s good to avoid drinking liquids around bedtime in general, these two substances induce increased urination.
Increasing your activity is another helpful sleeping tip for seniors because activity leads to deeper sleep. An easy way to be more active is to exercise regularly. Join a swim club or bike every day and you’ll notice improvements in your sleep. If you can’t easily exercise, reach out to people instead—being social for an hour or more is another form of activity.
Get Out in the Sun
An important facet of sleep is your sleep-wake cycle, which the sun plays a role in determining. When you don’t encounter natural sunlight, your brain has a harder time judging when you should fall asleep. If you get outside, this will help regulate your melatonin production when nighttime comes. So why not combine exercise with the outdoors? This will allow you to regulate brain hormones and tire you out so you can sleep easier.
Nap Responsibly—or Not at All
Napping may be responsible for your poor sleep. Consider not napping if you struggle staying asleep, but if you must, consider these pointers. First, keep your naps short. Only napping up to 30 minutes or so is enough to improve your cognitive function without sacrificing your nighttime sleep. Also, don’t nap too close to your bedtime. Instead of heading to your bed or favorite seat on the couch in the early evening, go out for a quick evening stroll, and maybe take your spouse along. This helps you sleep through the night and gives you another reason to be active.