Easy Ways For Seniors To Improve Their Sleep Habits

Catch some health-promoting zzz’s with these tips


As we age, it can sometimes be more difficult to get an adequate amount of quality sleep. Seniors can often be plagued by restless nights and even ongoing sleep disorders. Even the healthiest seniors cannot stop the aging process, and with advancing age can come the inability to continually sleep well. There are some great techniques seniors can implement to help improve their sleeping habits.

What causes sleep disorders in seniors?

Before a senior can adequately tackle the issue of sleeplessness, they need to understand the underlying reason behind the issue. There are many possibilities for the cause of sleeplessness. Some of the most common reasons a senior might be experiencing poor sleeping habits include alcohol use, medical illness, depression, medication use, and the loss of a loved one. If a senior can pinpoint a specific issue that is causing sleeping problems, it can be easier to deal with the root of the problem to bring about better sleep.

Types of sleep disorders

The most common types of sleep disorders in seniors include:

  • insomnia (the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or waking up too early)
  • sleep apnea
  • advanced sleep phase disorder (ASP)
  • periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)

Easy ways to improve sleep habits

Thankfully, there are some easy changes seniors can make in their lifestyle to help them sleep better.

  • Create a Sleep Routine – Sleeping habits become better when there is a regulated routine in place. Designating a set time to wake up in the morning and go to bed at night and sticking with it will help to retrain your body and allow you to stick to that schedule.
  • Focus on Exercise – Developing a new exercise routine will also help seniors sleep better. The exercise does not need to be strenuous. Something as simple as taking a short walk or working in the garden is enough. However, the timing of the exercise is important. Seniors should avoid exercising within six hours of bedtime. Also, seniors should talk to their doctors before starting any exercise program.
  • Enjoy Some Sunlight – Seniors should expose themselves to sunlight during the morning and afternoon hours. Doing so will help the body reset itself and begin to get ready for bed. The exposure to the sun does not need to be direct; looking through a window is sufficient. The key is to allow the eyes to see the light.
  • Limit Napping – It is perfectly fine for a senior to nap during the day. However, to avoid having sleeping issues, naps should be limited to one hour or less, and they should occur before 3 p.m.
  • Watch your Alcohol Use – Seniors should avoid alcohol use within six hours of bedtime.
  • Cut back on Caffeine – Caffeine consumption should cease after lunch.
  • Take a warm bath – Taking a warm bath is soothing and can prepare a senior’s body for a good night’s rest. Once the bath is complete, and the senior gets out of the tub, the drop in temperature will bring about a feeling of tiredness.
  • Take time to calm down before bed – At any age, a typical day can be stressful. About an hour before turning the lights out, seniors should turn off electronic devices and spend some time doing something relaxing such as reading a good book or listening to soft music.
  • Drink fewer fluids at night – The fewer liquids that are consumed later in the evening will result in less need for trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, thus allowing seniors an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Regardless of age, we all need an adequate amount of sleep every night. But as we age, getting the right amount of sleep becomes more difficult. Seniors who are plagued by various sleeping issues can help to avoid these issues by making a few simple changes and starting some new habits. If you are a senior or are the loving relative of a senior who has sleeping problems, the staff at Sunshine Retirement Living can answer any questions you have and get you going down the path toward a great night’s sleep!

To learn about our senior living communities, speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff members today.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

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