Are you a senior who has trouble sleeping at night? Sleep is often difficult to come by, but a lack of sleep can have serious consequences for your health and wellness. So, how can seniors benefit from sleep, and how can they get more of it? Continue reading to find out.
Why is sleep essential for seniors?
Sleeping is a simple act with numerous health benefits. Aside from making you feel more energized, getting enough sleep can help you reduce inflammation, fight depression, and even maintain a healthy weight. All of these are valid reasons for seniors to improve their sleep. Some studies, however, suggest a link between a lack of healthy sleep and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Adults who do not get enough rapid eye movement (REM) sleep at night put themselves at risk of developing memory and cognitive issues as they age, according to neurologists. So, how can you improve your health by sleeping better?
You might want to begin with a new bed.
Many senior sleep problems may be caused by sleeping on an old, worn-out mattress.
Some indications that you should start with a new mattress? Look for worn-out or damaged areas, heavy stains, or exposed springs. If you've had your mattress for more than a decade, it's time to replace it because your sleep needs change as you age. Take your time when shopping for a new mattress to find one that fits your body and your needs.
The best mattresses have enough support to keep the spine in neutral alignment, enough contouring to relieve pressure points (think heels, hips, and shoulders), and some way to regulate body temperature. After you've decided on a new mattress, consider purchasing soft sheets, cozy blankets, and supportive pillows to complete your bed.
Then work on your evening routine.
If you tend to nod off while watching television, you might want to reconsider your bedtime routine. According to research, exposure to screens before bed can result in less deep sleep, so turn off electronics during the evening hours. If you must use your phone or laptop, try adjusting the brightness to a lower, warmer setting. Instead of watching TV at night, try incorporating some relaxing habits into your evening routine.
A warm bath before bedtime is an excellent way to relax tense muscles and lower your body temperature in preparation for sleep. If your mind is racing, you can try a quick meditation or write in your journal. Journaling can be a simple and effective anxiety reliever, with additional benefits for seniors.
Take note of what you eat and do during the day.
Your diet can also have an impact on your sleep. If you consume caffeine through coffee and other foods, you should limit your intake to the morning hours. Fatty or spicy foods can also be problematic, especially for seniors. These foods can cause stomach upset and heartburn, making it difficult to relax. You should also try to time your meals and snacks so that they don't interfere with your sleep.
Avoid eating large meals before bedtime and give your body a few hours to digest food before attempting to unwind. If you do get hungry before going to bed, choose a snack that will help you fall asleep faster. Finally, remember to exercise. Working out every day prepares your body and mind for sleep. A morning workout may improve your sleep even more, as well as provide other significant benefits.
Sleep deprivation is never fun, but simple changes may provide some relief. If the suggestions above do not improve your sleep, it may be time to consult your doctor. Getting enough sleep is critical for your health and happiness, so take whatever steps are necessary to improve your sleep routine.