An average adult should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep daily. While they might sound achievable, as some can quickly drift to sleep, older adults might have trouble getting there. As people age, it produces lower growth hormone levels, decreasing the possibility of drifting to sleep. With that, older adults need to look for various ways to bring themselves to sleep and get the most rest out of it.
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to lay in bed, waiting to fall asleep, then you see your clock, and it’s already 2 AM. To help you achieve a full night of sleep, or drifting into one, for that matter, listed below are some sleep tips for older adults:
1.Switch To An Adjustable Bed
If you’re the type of person who enjoys using plenty of pillows to raise your upper body and legs, then you might want to consider switching to an adjustable bed. This way, you don’t have to worry about continuously adjusting your pillow, wherein your bed already fixes the issue for you. Moreover, you can also comfortably lay your body on your bed and allow your remote to tilt your head and leg at your desired angle. This can help minimize the use of pillows and enable you to sit on your bed to read a good book without hurting your back.
2.Upgrade Your Mattress
As you age, you might develop joint and bone problems, which can result in uncomfortable sleep. While using plenty of pillows to support your body might be helpful, you might want to consider upgrading your mattress instead. This way, you can allow your bed to provide you with maximum comfort and address your joint issues. Ideally, you should switch to using orthopedic mattresses that aim to give back and joint support. That’ll be the perfect choice for older adults as they need extra cushioning for their bodies.
3.Try To Develop A Consistent Sleep Routine
While this applies to everyone, developing a consistent routine is a great way for people to sleep quickly at night. This way, you can rely on your own body clock when you should sleep and wake up at night. To do this, you should sleep at the exact hour every day until your body develops into the routine and forces you to be sleepy a few minutes before your bedtime. Even if you’re not yet sleepy, you should lie on your bed and do nothing until you fall asleep. This can be difficult for the first few days, but it should help your body get the hang of it.
4.Relax Hours Before Your Bedtime
Melatonin is a hormone your body creates that helps you drift to sleep. To sleep quickly at night, you should increase your body’s melatonin levels naturally. While using natural sleep aids might be helpful, they should only be your last option as they’re only designed to be consumed temporarily and not something your body depends on so you can sleep at night. Being dependent on sleep aid can cause problems with your kidney along with sleeping naturally.
To increase your body’s melatonin levels, you should relax hours before bedtime. Ideally, you should set yourself down two hours before you hit the hay to give your body enough preparation to drift to sleep slowly. You could try indulging yourself in a warm relaxing bath, drinking hot milk, and listening to calming music. While it might be challenging, learning some deep breathing and relaxation exercises should help to make you feel more at peace.
Additionally, you should also avoid exposing yourself to high levels of stress as they’ll help to keep you awake at night. Avoiding exercise and caffeine is also encouraged as they can help to keep your body alert for hours.
5.Avoid Afternoon Naps
As you grow older, you might get extra sleepier during the day, which forces you to take a quick afternoon nap. While it might help you feel recharged, this can prevent you from having a peaceful sleep at night, making you stay up all night. To allow for an easier nighttime sleep, you should try to skip afternoon naps and try to keep yourself awake at all times. You could take a walk outside, do some quick exercise, or do anything that keeps your body active. Watching TV might encourage you to sleep as you’re drifting comfortably in your chair or bed.
6.Improve Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment greatly affects how you can sleep and what quality you can get. To allow yourself to drift quickly, you should improve your sleep environment by shutting down your windows with blackout curtains, playing some white noise machine, switching to more comfortable bed sheets, or even diffusing some lavender essential oil that’s known to relax your body and mind. Not only can they help you fall asleep, but they can also allow your body to be well-relaxed, improving your sleep quality every night.
Older adults have more trouble sleeping at night as their body changes. But with the right preparation and adjustments, it should help them to slowly drift to sleep and improve their sleep quality. While it might take quite a while before someone develops a healthy sleep routine, the benefits it’ll bring to their body and mind would be worth it.