A Senior’s Guide To A Good Night’s Sleep

Plenty of older adults enjoy a vibrant and active lifestyle. As a senior, you have the freedom to pursue your interests and manage your own schedule, unlike when you were focused on your career or raising a family.

However, it’s difficult to take full advantage of your freedom if you often feel tired.

Fortunately, developing healthy sleeping patterns doesn’t have to be difficult and can do wonders for your energy, mental health, and stamina. 

How do you know that you’re not getting enough sleep?

There are many types of sleep disturbances, but the most common among seniors are not being able to fall asleep and having trouble staying asleep. 

You may find yourself tossing and turning for hours before you finally drift off.

Or, you might find that you fall asleep only to wake up a few hours later and not be able to fall back asleep.

If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, you may not be getting enough sleep:

  •       Changes to your mood
  •       Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  •       Memory loss
  •       Poor coordination
  •       Loss of balance
  •       Weakened immune system

How much sleep do you need to stay healthy?

One of the most common myths about sleep is that everybody needs eight hours per night to stay healthy. The reality is that everybody is different. How much sleep you need to perform at your best varies between individuals.

To find out how much sleep you need, keep a sleep diary for a few weeks. You can do this manually or invest in a SmartWatch, which will record your sleeping patterns with the highest level of detail and accuracy.

If you notice that you feel your best when you’re getting eight hours of sleep a night, this may be the sweet spot for your sleep pattern.

This can hold true at almost any rate of sleep – as long as you feel good and wake up feeling refreshed, you’re likely getting the exact amount of rest you need.

The regularity of your sleeping pattern is more important than how many hours you are getting.

What causes sleep problems for seniors and how can you fix them?

1. Underlying medical problems

Several chronic medical conditions experienced by seniors affect both the quality and quantity of sleep.

Heart and lung disorders may affect your ability to breathe when you are sleeping, causing a condition called sleep apnea.

Any pain or discomfort that you are experiencing could make getting a good night’s rest difficult. Therefore, if you are having difficulty sleeping, the first thing you should do speak to your family physician. 


2. Medication, Alcohol, and Caffeine

Some medications used to treat conditions common in seniors can affect sleep. Diuretics, also called water pills, are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and heart disease.

These medications can increase the frequency with which you need to go to the restroom, especially at night, causing you to lose some much-needed rest.

Caffeinated drinks and snacks can also cause sleep problems, as can alcohol.  Again, speak to your treating physician about any medication you are taking that could affect your sleeping patterns.

3. Poor sleeping environment

There has been a lot of research into the effects of screens and technology on people’s health in recent years. One of the most significant findings is that if you spend a lot of time watching television or browsing on your tablet or phone, it may cause significant sleep problems.

According to a Harvard Medical School paper, it’s recommended that you turn off all devices with screens at least two hours before you go to bed. Take a walk outside and enjoy the natural evening light before you head off to bed. 

4. Lifestyle factors

The most important thing that will affect your nights’ sleep is how you spend your day. The first thing that you want to do is decide what time you will go to bed at night and what time you will wake up in the morning. Try to stick to your schedule as much as possible.

Doing some light exercise in the early afternoon will also boost your energy levels during the day, and leave you tired enough to fall asleep at night. Avoid taking naps late in the day and don’t give in to the temptation to sleep in too often.

One of the great things about working on your sleeping pattern is that a few small changes can make a huge difference to your quality of life.

With a few small changes to your habits, you will get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling ready to take on the day!

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Senior Shopper