Aging brings many changes, and one of them is a change in sleeping patterns. Typically, seniors go to sleep earlier and sleep less deeply than they used to when they were younger. And when a stressful situation occurs, it becomes more difficult to drift off and stay asleep.
These days, with the coronavirus pandemic, we feel the pressure of stress much more than usual. According to some expert opinions, seniors who are in lockdown are more likely to develop anxiety and have trouble sleeping at night. If this period is giving you headaches or if you are stressed out for any other reason, here are some tips that can help.
Maintain a regular sleeping routine
Depending on your obligations during the day, you should have an established sleep routine that includes going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day. This can be difficult when you are stressed out and afraid of what tomorrow brings. However, it is a matter of habit. Determine the bedtime and the amount of sleep you need and try not to sleep in just because you can.
Mind your diet
Eating foods high in sugar and saturated fats can cause you to have trouble falling asleep and wake up during the night more frequently. Drinking a lot of caffeine during the day is also harmful.
Stressful times call for comfort food, but don’t look for comfort in grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream. Instead, aim for a balanced diet packed with low-fat proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Some of the best foods that promote good sleep include turkey, fatty fish, warm milk, oats, and almond butter. Of course, if you have any medical condition preventing you from eating some of these nutrients, consult your doctor and look for adequate replacements.
As we get older, our mobility deteriorates and, naturally, we cannot perform all the physical activities we were once used to. But that’s specifically why physical activity becomes even more important as we age.
No one is saying that you should hit the gym and lift heavy weights. However, what you can do is take a walk in the park every morning, do a moderate jog, take a Pilates class, practice yoga, or go dancing. Adjust your activities to your level of mobility, and don’t hesitate to consult an expert.
Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable
Where you sleep plays a big role in how you sleep. Adapting the sleeping environment will likely call for some investments in terms of mattress, drapes, air-condition, etc. If you need to choose your priorities, opt for a supportive mattress first, then go for the pillow that provides proper neck and spine support. It’s also important that the temperature in the room is adjusted so it’s neither too hot nor too cold for comfortable sleep.
Try not to overstimulate your brain before bedtime
Reading the news these days can take a toll on anyone’s nerves. You need to be informed about the situation with the pandemic and ensure you’re taking the right measures to stay safe, but at the same time, it’s crucial to read only the essential information. Avoid absorbing the negative information before bedtime to avoid the increase in stress which could result in having trouble sleeping. Also, avoid watching TV or any other blue screen device before going to sleep.
Reach out for support
A natural need of someone going through rough times is to seek support in another human being. This can be a family member, a daughter or a son, a friend, a confidante, or a therapist. Sharing your fears, thoughts, and feelings can reduce the anxiety you might be experiencing before bedtime and improve your stress response.
It is difficult to stay focused, healthy, and mindful in turbulent times. Excessive stress affects much more than your sleep. It also harms your health and can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and other problems. Sleep issues can cause loss of focus and lead to impaired memory.
In short, the problems and stress hanging over your head can disrupt your sleep and consequently, this will impact your health. Follow the tips above and try to find the peace that can provide you with decent shuteye.