Sleep can be a troubling topic for many people, regardless of age. However, some seniors note that the quality and quantity of their sleep have taken a sharp downturn over time. While some people may accept this as a regular addition to the aging process, there are great tactics that can greatly improve sleep for seniors and take away any stress involved in the process.
Why Seniors Have Trouble Sleeping at Night
Aging can often cause a change in many senior’s circadian rhythms or the body’s internal clock that controls the rise and rest of the body. There are also changes in hormones that promote a restful night’s sleep such as melatonin and cortisol. According to the Sleep Foundation, there are also other internal and external discrepancies that may cause trouble when it comes time for seniors to sleep including:
- Pain- If you are experiencing any pain in your body or pain that is made worse by lying down, it needs to be addressed in order to improve your sleep.
- Insomnia- It was found by the Sleep Foundation that those aged 60 and above are at a higher risk for developing insomnia than their juniors. Insomnia could be the product of a variety of internal issues that require specific treatment.
- Sleep apnea- Sleep apnea is an issue characterized by the continual collapse of the airway. This could be due to a variety of reasons but it causes disorganized sleep and greatly affects the body’s oxygen levels.
- REM sleep behavior disorder- This is a disorder that typically affects older adults and causes the affected person to violently act out their dreams.
If you believe that you are experiencing one of the following, it may be beneficial to visit a doctor and get the opinion of a medical professional.
How Seniors Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep
If you are struggling to fall and to stay asleep at night, there are ways to fix the issue. Some of the best tips for those looking to improve their sleep include:
- Maintaining a steady sleep schedule- Sudden changes in your sleep schedule can cause persistent sleep issues. It is best to try to fall asleep and wake up around the same time every day.
- Regularly exercising- Exercising every day or on a schedule releases chemicals that tire the body. It has been proven that those who exercise regularly have a better quality of sleep than those who do not.
- Avoiding distractions before bed- Distractions like television, cellphones, iPads, and other electronic devices emit a blue light that keeps the brain up. In order to get optimal sleep, stay off of these devices right before bedtime.
- Managing your intake of substances- To improve sleep, it is recommended that people avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating large meals for up to 4 hours before going to sleep.
If you have tried all of the above, it might be a good idea to see a medical professional for an in-depth analysis of your specific sleep-related issues.