Created on: January 23, 2013
Sleep patterns change as people age. Individuals may require a different amount of sleep or wake up or go to sleep earlier than previously. This is all quite normal. Sleep is just as important as people age, so here are a few tips to help with getting a good night’s sleep.
Regular exercise is important at any age, but as people get older, they tend to become less active. Walking is a great exercise for seniors, it benefits the heart and lungs without putting strain on the joints. This form of exercise can be done almost anywhere, alone or in a group. When the body is physically tired, it is more likely to drop off to sleep at bedtime, a huge benefit for seniors who find it difficult to fall asleep. It’s important for anyone to consult a health professional before beginning any new exercise regime, especially seniors.
Many older people find it difficult to fall asleep at night. This could be because of stimulants such as cigarettes, coffee, medication and heavy meals consumed before bed. Substances found in cigarettes and coffee can stimulate the mind and should be eliminated or reduced before bedtime. Some medications also have a stimulating effect, is this is keeping an individual awake at night, it may be time to consult their doctor and find an alternative medicine or establish whether it can be taken earlier in the day. Heavy meals can take several hours to digest properly and therefore interfere with sleep. A lighter meal earlier in the evening followed by a light snack before bedtime can be more beneficial to sleep.
If an individual has a problem with early morning waking, it could simply be because they have had sufficient sleep. Older people tend to sleep a couple of hours less than younger adults. If an individual wakes and they feel refreshed, they’ve probably had enough sleep. If still tired, it could help to get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity such as reading before going back to sleep. Another reason people wake early is because of alcohol consumed before bed. Alcohol may send an individual off to sleep, but once it wears off, it encourages early morning waking and a restless night’s sleep. It’s best to avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Getting up during the night to use the bathroom can also lead to sleeplessness; cutting out drinks close to bedtime can help with this.
Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t need to be a problem for older people. Physically tiring the body, avoiding stimulants and too many drinks before bedtime can encourage a better night’s sleep, but if symptoms persist, consult a medical professional.
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