Insomnia is something that can affect any senior. Some seniors struggle with insomnia because the medications that they take cause insomnia as a side effect. Other seniors who have depression or anxiety may experience insomnia as a symptom of their mental health condition.
Seniors who have chronic insomnia can develop serious problems as a result of their lack of sleep. Studies show that getting at least seven hours of restful sleep is critical for brain health. It’s recommended that seniors get anywhere from eight to ten hours of sleep at night. Seniors that are fighting insomnia should try these highly recommended tips to help them fall asleep.
Create a Cozy Bedroom Space
Design your bedroom to promote relaxation and sleep. Keep the room dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Consider using blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine if needed.
Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Stick to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock and improves sleep quality. A warm bath or a shower before bed can help too. Personal care at home can help seniors with tasks like bathing safely. Personal care at home also can help seniors get safely in and out of bed.
Limit Daytime Naps
While short daytime naps can be refreshing, excessive napping can disrupt nighttime sleep. Aim for brief, 20-30 minute naps if needed and avoid napping too close to bedtime.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Engage in relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation before bedtime. These techniques can calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep.
Engaging in regular physical activity can improve sleep but avoid strenuous exercise close to bedtime. Aim for moderate exercise during the day, such as walking, swimming, or gentle yoga.
Limit Screen Time
Reduce exposure to screens, including phones, tablets, and computers, at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Seniors shouldn’t have TVs or other electronics in their bedrooms.
Seek Natural Light Exposure
Exposure to natural light during the day helps regulate the body’s internal clock and improve sleep patterns. Spend time outdoors or open curtains to let in sunlight.
Don’t Drink Too Much Before Bed
To prevent waking up frequently to use the bathroom seniors should limit their intake of fluids in the evening hours, particularly close to bedtime.
Certain herbs, such as chamomile, valerian, and lavender, have been traditionally used to promote relaxation and sleep. Seniors should always talk to their healthcare provider before using any herbal remedies.
Seniors may need prescription sleep medication to help them sleep. Any senior who can’t seem to beat their insomnia should discuss medication options with their doctor.
Be Patient And Consistent
Improving sleep habits takes time. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to implementing healthy sleep practices.