Better Sleep For The Elderly
Posted on: 02 May 2018 by Rono Bens
Lack of sleep can have many adverse effects on your health, productivity, and general well-being
Lack of sleep can have many adverse effects on your health, productivity, and general well-being. The condition gets even worse for seniors who have to deal with aches, pains, disrupted sleep, exhaustion and other issues that come with old age. Sleeping on a comfortable bed and avoiding most of the factors that disturb your sleep can help improve your sleep pattern.
According to research, our sleep patterns change as we age. Your sleep intensity continues to weaken with each passing year, which can be a reason for concern if you aren’t careful enough. As you might have noticed, many elderly persons go to sleep early and wake up earlier than other people (younger people for this matter). Aside from going to bed early, most seniors suffer conditions that make sleeping well almost impossible.
Some of the conditions/situations that affect an older adult's sleep patterns include:
1. Arthritis and arthritic pains
2. The need to urinate frequently at night
3. Medications that affect sleep patterns
While these factors may genuinely affect the quality of sleep, they aren’t the main reason you aren’t sleeping well. Severe sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movements in sleep, and sleep apnea are some of the conditions that can have a significant impact on your sleep pattern. Unless you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above, making simple lifestyle changes can help improve your sleep quality. Some of these changes are outlined below.
- Have a bedtime routine: Creating and sticking to a regular bedtime and waking time routine can help make your sleep quality much better.
- Pre-sleep rituals: Having pre-sleep rituals such as reading a book, or taking a bath just before going to bed can also help you fall asleep quickly over time.
- Exercise: Exercise for the elderly is recommended not just for their sleep, but overall health in general. Physical activity engages muscles hence stimulating increased blood flow to all parts of the body. Experts however recommend exercising during the daytime, and never in the evening or towards bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine: These substances pose a considerable threat to people over the age of 50. Cutting down on these should help improve your sleep quality.
- Avoid daytime naps: Although daytime naps can be refreshing, you certainly should avoid napping if it affects your nighttime sleep. If possible, only take naps lasting not more than 30 minutes. Anything longer than that will cause you to drift into deep sleep, which can cause sleeplessness at night.
- Take a stroll: Seniors need physical exercise to keep their systems on check. Going for a walk, getting lots of daylight, and doing some gardening are recommended for your health and sleep.
- Make sure the bedroom is comfortable enough: You need a comfortable, peaceful, and dark bedroom to be able to drift to sleep comfortably. If the bed is too uncomfortable, then consider investing in a better quality bed, Zeopedic mattress, and blankets. The mattress, in particular, should have enough support and flexibility.
- Mental stimulation: Some mental stimulation will also come in handy for your psychological health. Engaging in activities that stimulate the brain such as doing a crossword, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, reading, and even an engaging hobby is good for your health and also promotes better sleep.