Sleep is vital to our health, especially as we get older. It’s normal to experience changes and disruptions to your sleeping pattern at different phases of your life, but one thing remains true: getting adequate sleep is important for your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Older adults may notice that they aren’t sleeping as deeply or for as long as they used to in earlier stages of their lives. If you or your senior loved one is experiencing sleeping problems, there are several ways to get back on track to being well-rested. Here are some top tips from our assisted living team at UMC:
Senior Sleep Tip #1: Stick To A Routine
We are all creatures of habit, and most of us really thrive when we stick to a routine. Bedtime routines are especially important because they help prepare your mind and your body for a good night’s rest. We recommend going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Other components of a healthy night-time routine include not using phones or iPads in bed, using blackout curtains to block out any light, using earplugs to eliminate noise, and practicing deep breathing while getting ready for bed.
Senior Sleep Tip #2: Take A Nice, Warm Bath
A nightly warm bath can be a great part of a healthy bedtime routine. It’s one way to unwind after a long day, and it helps to put your body into a state of relaxation. Some people enjoy playing relaxing music and lighting their favorite scented candle to really complete the experience. If you’ve had a particularly active day, you can even add a little bit of Epsom Salt to your bathwater to soothe your tired muscles.
Senior Sleep Tip #3: Don’t Drink Fluids At Night
If your loved one wakes up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, it can often be difficult for them to get back to sleep. Encourage them to use the bathroom as part of their “getting ready for bed” routine, and set a cut-off in the evening for drinking liquids. For example, if your loved one goes to bed at 10pm, they should stop drinking liquids at around 8:30pm.
Senior Sleep Tip #4: No Caffeine After Noon
Drinking caffeine too late in the day can keep anyone awake at night, especially for those who are more sensitive to its effects. We recommend only consuming caffeine in the morning to encourage healthy sleeping habits and to ensure you or your loved one isn’t lying awake when bedtime rolls around. For those who are accustomed to drinking coffee and tea all day long, decaf is a great option after 12:00pm.
Senior Sleep Tip #5: Keep The Room At A Comfortable Temperature
A room that’s too hot or too cold can have a major impact on how well you sleep. While everyone has their own personal preference, usually depending on the climate you live in, finding the ideal room temperature is essential to quality sleep. If your loved one is waking up sweating in the middle of the night, consider getting them a lighter, thinner blanket or using a ceiling fan. If they’re waking up feeling cold, invest in a warmer comforter and check that there aren’t any leaks in their bedroom windows where the cold, outside air could be getting in.
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/blog/help-seniors/