More Than Counting Sheep: Tricks to Help Any Senior Get a Better Night Sleep
While a good night’s sleep may seem like a common occurrence to many people, for millions of seniors, falling asleep and staying asleep is anything but ordinary. Seniors are among the most common population in the United States to suffer from sleep issues and insomnia, yet it is extremely important that seniors are getting even more sleep than younger adults.
Why is Sleep so Important For Seniors?
Sleep is important for everyone. A good night’s sleep is essential in letting the body repair and recover. Without sleep, humans would not survive. However, sleep is about more than just rejuvenation. For seniors it is extremely important to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep per night because sleep helps seniors improve memory function and concentration; something that most seniors would agree they need a little help with. Sleep can also help seniors with the following:
- Repairing cell damage from the day.
- Boosting the immune system.
- Lessening the chances of seniors forming depression and anxiety.
- Alleviating issues with headaches and irritability.
- Reducing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight problems, and other serious health issues.
Seniors who are not getting enough sleep or who are unable to fall asleep within an hour of bedtime may be at risk for developing sleep issues as they fail to get the benefits they need from a quality night of rest.
Tips for Helping Seniors Fall Asleep
As many caregivers and family members of seniors know, many older adults struggle more and more with falling asleep, the older they get. While there are some sleep problems that are actually related to serious medical issues, for other sleep issues, setting the right routine is the key to success. Here are some proven ways to help seniors get on a sleep schedule, and stay on a sleep schedule every night:
- Avoid watching television or looking at a screen right before bed.
- Adopt a routine where seniors wake up, eat, nap and go to sleep at the same time every night.
- Develop a pre-bedtime ritual such as reading or taking a bath.
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime.
- Limit naps during the day to help keep a normal bedtime.
- Set an alarm every morning and use natural sunlight to help the body fully wake up.
Little tips and tricks like this, especially when used together, can really help any senior get on a sleep schedule and stay on a sleep schedule so that they may have the proper amount of rest they need to be focused, happy and healthy throughout the day.
It is important to remember that sleep issues are not just a normal part of aging. Just because it is common among the elderly, it doesn’t mean that it is normal. Any senior who is struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep at night should consider these tips. If they don’t work, it may be time to visit a health care professional for more assistance.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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