Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

How’s your sleep these days? Sleeping like a log? Or sleeping like a baby – waking up every few hours, maybe even hungry to boot? Getting enough good-quality sleep is important to our health and well-being, but unfortunately many people find it harder to get a decent night’s sleep as they age.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), insomnia is the most common sleep problem in adults aged 60 and older. People with this condition have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia can last for days, months, and even years. To add insult to injury, stressing or worrying about not being able to sleep can just make things worse.

As the NIA says on its website, “Being older doesn’t mean you have to be tired all the time.” It offers these tips to help you get the healthy rest you need – hopefully, about seven to nine hours’ worth every night.

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends or when you are traveling.
  • Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening, if you can. Naps may keep you awake at night.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Take time to relax before bedtime each night. Some people read a book, listen to soothing music, or soak in a warm bath.
  • Try not to watch television or use your computer, cell phone, or tablet in the bedroom. The light from these devices may make it difficult for you to fall asleep. And alarming or unsettling shows or movies, like horror movies, may keep you awake.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold, and as quiet as possible.
  • Use low lighting in the evenings and as you prepare for bed.
  • Exercise at regular times each day, but not within three hours of your bedtime.
  • Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime – they can keep you awake.
  • Stay away from caffeine late in the day. Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate) can keep you awake.
  • Remember – alcohol won’t help you sleep. Even small amounts make it harder to stay asleep.

If you feel tired all the time and unable to do your normal activities, talk with your doctor.

Categories: Senior Health