Changes to daily routines for elderly adults can help improve sleep patterns and minimize the effects of sleep disorders.
Sleep is one of those things many people take for granted. As people age, sleep patterns change. We may get sleepy earlier or wake up earlier. We may also experience less deep sleep through the night. Some causes of lack of sleep include frequent urination, medication side effects, and chronic pain.
Insomnia is another cause reported by 30% to 40% of adults in the U.S. every year. It is a sleep disorder that makes falling asleep or remaining asleep difficult. Insomnia can be the reason for waking up too early and not being able to fall back asleep. This sleep disorder is often the main culprit for fatigue, anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline in aging adults. More importantly, insomnia can create long-term health outcomes that decrease the quality of life for those individuals.
There is good news for those struggling for a night of rest. Research reveals that effective treatments for this sleep disorder exist and are proven to help improve sleep in older adults. Positive lifestyle changes can also help improve sleep and overall well-being. It is best to consult a healthcare professional to discuss the options and how to best integrate them into a daily routine.
Aging adults who regularly exercise are more likely to fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and experience a better quality of rest. Follow instructions, warm up properly, don’t overdo it, and stay hydrated. Sometimes it can take a few months before exercise improves sleep. So, be patient.
Meditation is a form of relaxation having many benefits. It encourages a healthy lifestyle and can reduce stress, improve focus, and boost the immune system. Researchers also found that meditation improved insomnia by affecting sleep patterns. Breathing slowly and steadily for 15 minutes in the morning and evening may be the perfect path to a restful sleep.
Avoid food or drinks that discourage a beneficial night of rest. Don’t have a large meal late in the day. Instead, try to eat at least 4 hours before bedtime or have a lighter meal in the evening. Don’t consume foods high in saturated fat that may cause heartburn or indigestion. Finally, avoid chemicals that disrupt sleep, including caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid or limit napping during the day to minimize the challenge of sleeping at night. If a nap is needed, be sure it’s before 3:00 pm. It is also beneficial to not watch television or get on a mobile device after getting into bed. These activities stimulate the brain and delay preparing for a restful evening.
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