Did you know that it is quite common for older adults to develop sleeping challenges as they age?
According to the Society of Behavioral Medicine (2019), our sleep patterns become more fragile and inconsistent as we age.
Older adults find themselves sleeping during odd hours of the day and struggling to stay asleep during the night for a multitude of reasons.
In order for our bodies and minds to properly function, we need to develop healthy sleeping habits no matter what age we are.
Here are a few tips for getting into that healthy sleep pattern.
Ingest a steady diet of carbs, vegetables, fruit, and protein. Limit your sugar and fat intake as this does contribute to unnecessary lethargy during the day.
Eat healthy foods that give you energy so that you can avoid napping all day. Also, consider not eating too late into the night as this can cause intestinal discomfort when lying down at night.
Daily fluid intake:
Get plenty of water during the day, and slowly reduce your fluid intake as you approach bed time. This prevents you from having to get up multiple times during the night to use the bathroom.
Regular exercise that challenges your heart rate and blood pressure actually improves your ability to sleep through the night.
Consider trying relaxation exercises such as yoga prior to going to sleep in order to relax your body and your mind.
If you are on any medications, consult with your doctor about any potential drugs that are preventing you from getting a good night sleep.
Your doctor may also suggest sleep medication if you are losing a profoundly large amount of sleep due to insomnia.
Limiting screen time at night:
Computer, iPads and cellphones emit blue light, the same type of light emitted by the sun but in much smaller doses.
Researchers have found that screen time actually messes with your sleep patterns because you are staring at light that you should only be exposed to during daylight hours.
Take that T.V. out of your room and put the phone down for the night.
Rationing day-time naps:
Be reasonable with your day-time naps. Cut down those 2-3 hour naps to 15-20 minutes using an alarm system. Find ways to keep yourself busy during the day in order to prevent the temptation to sleep.
Loss of sleep can lead to drowsiness, disconnectedness from the real world, AND to actual illness or disease. Take care of your body now and start your regular sleeping regimen today!