6 Steps to a Good Night’s Sleep for Seniors
A restful night’s sleep isn’t easy for many seniors – and for those who provide care for them. When the sun goes down, seniors can find it is a challenge to relax and fall asleep, or to remain asleep through the duration of the night. Sleepless nights then lead to sluggish days that can do more than just make someone feel sleepy. In fact, a chronic lack of sleep can impact a person’s overall health, making good sleep on a regular basis vitally important.
Taking steps to proactively prepare for a restful night’s sleep can help older adults and their caregivers get the sleep they need now to prevent health problems in the future. Try taking the steps below to improve sleep patterns:
- Get regular exercise: Exercising several hours before bedtime makes it easier to fall asleep, and can help seniors sleep more soundly. Make sure the senior completes his/her exercise program at least 3 hours prior to bedtime to ensure the body cools down so the person can fall asleep easier.
- Limit caffeine: Caffeine, a stimulant, creates an alerting effect. Encourage your loved one to stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least 6 – 8 hours before bedtime.
- Stick to a consistent schedule: When someone sleeps in or stays up late, the brain’s “circadian clock” can very easily be thrown off, interfering with the sleep-wake cycle. To help your senior loved one keep his/her “clock” running on schedule, ensure the person sticks to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.
- Create a relaxation routine: Developing a relaxing bedtime routine, such as listening to calming music, soaking in a warm bath, or reading a book can help both the body and brain wind down and get ready for sleep. The senior should stay away from bright lights and loud noises, and avoid engaging in stressful activities such as paying bills or problem solving before going to bed.
- Establish a soothing environment: The senior’s bedroom should be comfortable, dark and quiet.
- Maintain a sleep-only area: Leave computers and TVs in other rooms, and designate the senior’s bedroom for sleep only. Multitasking or utilizing light from a TV or computer in the bedroom inhibits a good night’s sleep.
Contact Hired Hands Homecare, providers of the professional elderly care Santa Rosa seniors deserve, at (866) 940-4343 for more information on how to help seniors (and yourself!) get a healthy and good night’s sleep, and to learn more about our in-home respite care services.