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10 Tips for Seniors with Trouble Sleeping

It’s not uncommon to experience the occasional restless night now and then. However, if you notice that falling asleep or getting a restful night of sleep is becoming increasingly more difficult, there could be a bigger problem at hand.  A lack of sleep can lead to increased frustration and other, more serious health conditions. Sleep is just as essential for your cognitive health and physical wellbeing as food, water and air. Uninterrupted sleep is necessary to help keep both your mental and physical health in check as well.

So, what is there to do when a full night of sleep seems unattainable? If you have issues falling or staying asleep, you may be experiencing insomnia. Insomnia in seniors is a very common complaint. In fact, the National Institute of Health says that around 50 percent of adults over the age of 60 experience insomnia. If left untreated, insomnia and other sleep issues can result in depression, irritability, memory loss and more. Keep reading to check out a few of our top sleep tips for seniors and begin on your journey to a more restful night’s sleep!

1. Create a Nighttime Routine

One of the best ways to guarantee that you’ll get a restful night of sleep is to come up with a comfortable nighttime routine — and stick with it. If you can, try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up around the same time every morning as well. Additionally, if you follow the same rituals or routines in the evening, you can help to prepare for a regular bedtime.

2. Make Your Bed a “Sleep Only” Zone

While it may be tempting to linger in your bed in the mornings with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, it’s best to use your bed for sleeping only. Getting up and out of bed in the morning is a great way to start your day off on the right foot and will prevent your bed from becoming an additional daytime hangout spot.

3. Cut Back on Caffeine

Many people can drink a cup of coffee in the morning for an extra energy boost that won’t disrupt their evenings. But others can easily become overstimulated from that single cup full of caffeine. If you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine, be sure to stick to alternatives like tea — or skip it altogether.

4. Get Up and Move

Regular exercise is not only good for your physical and mental health, but it can result in a better night of sleep. You don’t have to become a gym rat to enjoy the many benefits of exercise either. Simply take the time to find an aerobic exercise that you enjoy and helps to keep you fit. Try walking with friends, swimming or running. Each of these exercises will help you to fall asleep more quickly, awaken less often throughout the night and get a high level of restorative deep sleep each night.

5. Say Goodbye to Tobacco

There are a million reasons why you should stop smoking — even if it’s just the occasional cigar. One of the biggest reasons to say no to tobacco is to give yourself the chance to get more sleep. Nicotine is proven to make it more difficult to fall asleep each night, so do the right thing and say your goodbyes once and for all!

6. Be Careful with Alcohol Consumption

Many people use a nightcap to help them feel relaxed and ready for bed. Since alcohol depresses the nervous system, this is a remedy that has been used for decades. However, the effects of alcohol wear off after a few hours and could result in waking throughout the night. Additionally, alcohol can lead to common sleep-breathing problems like snoring.

7. Improve Your Sleep Space

Similar to making your bed all about sleep, taking the time to make your bedroom more comfortable can help to make bedtime easier as well. Try removing your television, telephone and any other smart devices from the room. Next, reinforce that this is a place for rest by creating an environment that is quiet, comfortable, free from clutter and relatively dark.

8. Limit Naps

Everyone can benefit from a good nap once in a while. But regular napping can easily disrupt your sleep schedule. If you take time out for a nap more than once or twice a month, you could prevent yourself from feeling tired enough to sleep in the evenings and reset your sleep cycle. If possible, limit daytime naps and allow yourself to have an early night instead.

9. Avoid Sleeping Pills

Skip over-the-counter sleep aids whenever possible to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle. Additionally, if you have been prescribed sleep medication by your doctor, talk to them about ways to use it effectively and use it for the shortest period possible.

10. Don’t Toss and Turn

If you are still awake in your bed 20 minutes after the lights are out, you may want to get up and read or meditate to help relax. Getting up out of bed to use the restroom or grab a drink of water can also help you to avoid tossing and turning for too long. However, it’s important to avoid screens or too much activity during this time.

Take Control of Your Sleeping Schedule and Health Today

There are few things more important to your overall health than a restful night of sleep, and as you enter your golden years, staying on top of your health becomes increasingly important. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we want to help make sure that each of our residents have the tools they need to enjoy their retirement years. Interested in more great lifestyle tips for seniors? Or maybe you’d like to learn more about life here at our continuing care retirement community? For more information, please contact our friendly team today!