Older adults and seniors need at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Our need for sleep doesn’t decline as we age but for most of us, sleep can be elusive on many nights. Most seniors find that they wake up many times during the night and it can be difficult for them to fall asleep again. The shift in circadian rhythm as you age can cause you to be tired early in the evening and wake up early in the morning. If you can work with this and don’t mind going to bed early and getting up early, it’s fine. But many seniors want to stay up later and sleep in later.
Some ways to sleep better as you age include:
- Add a schedule to your bedtime that is relaxing. For many this can include a warm bath or shower using lavender scented products. Lower the lights as the evening wears on and turn off televisions and computers. Play soft music and find something to read that is relaxing.
- Change your bedroom. Many adults keep their bedrooms much too warm. A cooler bedroom is better for a good night’s sleep. Keep it dark. If you need to get up during the night, either leave a small nightlight on in the hallway or keep a flashlight in your night table to use. A bright light during the night will have you wide awake again. Introduce white noise into your sleep routine or very soft music. Some find that water sounds such as rainfall or waves can help them sleep better.
- Is your mattress or pillow keeping you awake? You mattress should be firm enough to support you properly. Find a pillow that is suited to your way of sleeping: on your side, your back or your stomach. Using the wrong pillow or one that is too soft or too firm can cause you to wake up with a sore neck or a sore back. Also check for allergens in your pillows and keep your bedroom dust free. If you find you get congested during the night, either one of these could be the culprit.
Sleep does become more difficult as we age, sometimes due to medical conditions or the medication we are taking for these conditions. Put some effort into finding ways that will make your night more comfortable. For more tips on sleeping better, click here.
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