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Seniors and Insomnia: 5 Tips for a Better Night's Rest

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Insomnia and other sleep disorders are common among seniors and can lead to other health issues such as depression, the risk of falling, and memory problems. That's why it's important for seniors to understand how sleep changes during the aging process and adopt healthy sleeping habits. Consider the following tips to help your senior achieve a better night's rest:


1. Determine Potential Causes

The first step towards resolving a sleeping problem is to identify the cause. There are a variety of underlying issues that could be preventing your senior from getting to sleep. These can include:

  • Poor sleep environment
  • Pain or medical issues
  • Menopause/post menopause
  • Medications
  • Lack of physical activity
  • High stress levels
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Sleep disorders

2. Naturally Boost Melatonin Levels

Throughout the aging process, our bodies secrete less of the significant sleep hormone, melatonin. Levels of melatonin can be boosted by:

  • Reducing blue light exposure (light emitted from smartphones, televisions, laptops, and tablets) right before bed
  • Eating foods rich in melatonin (walnuts, pineapple, bananas, oranges, etc.)
  • Increasing exposure to sunlight to get a healthy dose of Vitamin D

3. Improve the Sleeping Environment

As we age, we also become more sensitive to sound, light, and heat, so it's important to make sure the bedroom is a quiet, dark, and cool space. Designating the bedroom as a sleep-only place can also promote better sleep, as it helps your brain associate the room with sleep instead of other activities.


4. Maintain a Regular Routine

It's important to keep on a consistent sleeping schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This routine can greatly improve your circadian rhythm, also known as your "sleep/wake cycle," which can increase alertness and decrease drowsiness throughout the day. Developing before bedtime rituals such as playing music or deep breathing can also help.


5. Nap Effectively

There are times during the day when we may need a nap to boost our energy. It's advised to take quick naps, ranging from 15 to 45 minutes rather than longer naps that can make you feel groggy afterward. Napping earlier in the afternoon is also beneficial, as it most likely will not interfere with your nighttime sleep. 

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

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