As we age, we often experience changes in our sleeping patterns, such as waking up earlier in the morning or not falling into as deep of sleep as we once did. However, waking up tired every day and having other symptoms of insomnia aren’t a normal part of aging. Getting restful sleep is as important to a senior’s health as it was when they were younger.
The following tips can improve the quality of your aging parent’s sleep, overcome age-related sleep problems, and improve their overall quality of life when they’re awake.
Tip 1: Practice good sleep habits
What we do before we sleep often affects how we sleep that night. To promote better sleep at night, here are some good habits and routines:
- Use low wattage bulbs and turn off the TV, computer, and pad at least one hour before bed
- Keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool
- Use the bedroom only for sleep. Don’t watch TV or use the computer in bed
- Move bedroom clocks out of view
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Adjust bedtime to match when they’re tired, even if it’s earlier than it used to be
- Limit sleep aids and sleeping pills
- Keep naps short and encourage them to nap early in the afternoon
Tip 2: Use diet and exercise to improve sleep
Diet and exercise have a profound effect on the quality of sleep. Practicing good nutrition and moving at least 30 minutes per day will improve the quality of your parent’s sleep.
Some ways to do that nutritionally are:
- Limit caffeine late in the day
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime
- Satisfy hunger before going to bed
- Cut back on sugary foods
- Avoid big meals and spicy foods before bedtime
- Minimize liquid intake before sleep
Exercise releases chemicals in the body that promote restful sleep, especially aerobic activity. Though there may be mobility issues, there are many activities they can do that will help with the quality of their sleep. They include:
- Light aerobics
Tip 3: Reduce Mental Stress
Stress and anxiety that have built up over the day can interfere with your aging parent getting a good night’s sleep. Help them learn how to let go of thoughts and worries at bedtime. They can:
- Keep a journal to record worries before they go to sleep
- Listen to calming music
- Read a relaxing book
- Get a shoulder and neck massage
- Use relaxing breathing techniques
- Talk to a trusted friend during the day about anything troubling them
Talking to A Doctor About Sleep Problems
If trying the tips shown above aren’t effective in helping with the quality of your parent’s sleep, keep a sleep diary and take it to their doctor. Record when they use caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Keep track of their medications, exercise, lifestyle changes, and recent stress. Your doctor may refer them to a sleep specialist or a cognitive-behavioral therapist for treatment, especially if poor sleep is adversely affecting their mood and overall physical health.
We Can Help!
Our compassionate CAREGiversSM can assist your aging parent with their daily routine so they can get a good night’s sleep. Ultimately, at Home Instead, our mission is lifting the spirits of those we serve by offering them dependable and affordable home care options. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care or to schedule a FREE consultation for a senior in Naples, Fort Myers, Charlotte County, or the surrounding areas today, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.