5 Tips to Help You Sleep well at Night

5 Tips to Help You Sleep well at Night

5 Tips to Help You Sleep well at Night

It is common as we age to notice changes in sleep duration and quality. These changes occur because our bodies are changing. We experience different cycles in a 24-hour period called circadian rhythms. The flow of the rhythm begins to deteriorate with age and influences how we feel. Older adults who don’t sleep well are more likely to suffer from depression, attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, and experience more nighttime falls. 

Are you a senior having trouble sleeping? These tips can help you deal with insomnia, overcome age-related sleep problems, and get a good night’s rest.

  1. Add regular exercise to your day

People who exercise tend to fall asleep more quickly because their bodies are tired. There are many great benefits to exercising and it is one of the best things a person can do for their health. Exercise—especially aerobic activity—releases chemicals in your body that promote more restful sleep. Even if you have mobility issues, there are countless activities you can do to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. But always consult your doctor before embarking on any new fitness program.

  1. Reduce bedroom distractions

Distractions such as cell phones, televisions, and bright lights can keep you up at night. An easy way to reduce distractions is to unplug or put away the disturbances to avoid their temptation.

Naturally boost your melatonin levels. Artificial lights at night can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Use low-wattage bulbs where safe to do so, and turn off the TV and computer at least one hour before bed.

Don’t read from a backlit device at night (such as an iPad). If like to read from a tablet or other electronic device, switch to an eReader that requires an additional light source.

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, and your bed is comfortable. We often become more sensitive to noise as we age, and light and heat can also cause sleep problems. Using a sound machine, ear plugs, or a sleep mask can help.

  1. Follow a regular sleep schedule

As we get older, developing and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is important. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Our bodies function well on a schedule, and we should try to avoid sudden changes to our sleep schedule.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.

Block out snoring. If snoring is keeping you up, try earplugs, a white-noise machine, or separate bedrooms.

Go to bed earlier. Adjust your bedtime to match when you feel like going to bed, even if that’s earlier than it used to be.

Develop soothing bedtime rituals. Taking a bath, playing music, or practicing a relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxationmindfulness meditation, or deep breathing can help you wind down before bed.

Limit sleep aids and sleeping pills. Many sleep aids have side effects and are not meant for long-term use. Sleeping pills don’t address the causes of insomnia and can even make it worse in the long run.

Have a bedtime routine A bedtime routine can consist of many things such as having quiet time, taking a bath, or reading. A routine can help quiet the mind and prepare the body for a good night’s rest. See what works best for you.

  1. Reduce mental stress

Stress and anxiety built up during the day can also interfere with sleep at night. It’s important to learn how to let go of thoughts and worries when it’s time to sleep.

  • Keep a journal to record worries before you retire.
  • On your to-do list, check off tasks completed, list your goals for tomorrow, and then let them go.
  • Listen to calming music.
  • Read a book that makes you feel relaxed.
  • Get a massage from a friend or partner.
  • Use a relaxation technique to prepare your body for sleep.
  • Seek opportunities during the day to talk face to face with a friend about what’s troubling you.

  1. Limit food and drink that discourage sleep

Certain substances can make sleep more difficult. Try to limit alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and even large meals late in the day. Give your body plenty of time to process before putting your head on that pillow.

Limit caffeine late in the day. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate late in the day.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime. It might seem that alcohol makes you sleepy, but it will actually disrupt your sleep.

Satisfy your hunger prior to bed. Have a light snack such as low-sugar cereal, yogurt, or warm milk.

Cut down on sugary foods. Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and French fries can cause wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep.

Avoid big meals or spicy foods just before bedtime. Large or spicy meals may lead to indigestion or discomfort. Try to eat a modest-size dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime.

Minimize liquid intake before sleep. Limit what you drink within the hour and a half before bedtime to limit how often you wake up to use the bathroom at night.