Getting a good night’s sleep can become a challenge for many older adults. Discovering the explanations why – and possible solutions – can remain elusive. Sleep affects not only physical health but can influence moods, cognitive fitness and energy levels, according to the Harvard Health blog on aging and sleep. Healthy sleep can also impact:
- Capacity for new learning
- Strength of memories formed
- Improved attention
- Increase in problem solving skills
- Enhanced creativity
- Improved immune system
Sleep is not a luxury, although it may feel that way to older adults who find it difficult to achieve. However, the advantages of restful sleep and the harmful results you’ll want to avoid are key reasons to prioritize your ability to sleep well.
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep
Typical sleep disturbances include struggling to go to sleep or to stay asleep throughout the night. Consider the following suggestions to help improve your ability for a healthy rest:
1. Establish a bedtime routine – and stick to it
Keeping a routine bedtime can help create the habit of getting a good night’s sleep. Make sure you’re getting the right amount. For most older adults, that’s between 7 and 9 hours. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
2. Create a restful environment
Make your bedroom a sanctuary for rest. Consider curtains or blinds that darken the room. You’ll want to make sure the temperature is not too hot or cool. Check the comfort of your mattress and make sure your bedding is cozy. A quiet space is helpful but a white noise machine can always help drown out distracting noises.
3. Watch your diet
Eating certain foods or dining too close to bedtime can disrupt an older adult’s sleep. Be mindful of your diet and know what works best for you, especially meals and snacks later in the day. Research continues on whether certain foods can improve sleep quality but avoiding large meals closer to bedtime is always a good idea.
4. If a nap is needed, make it early
Often, older adults get tired during the day and need to rest. However, if a nap is too close to bedtime, it can make nighttime sleep even more difficult to achieve. If you need to lay down, try to take a short rest before 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon.
5. Stay active – but not right before bed
Exercising regularly during the day is not only good for your physical and mental health but can also help you sleep better. One word of caution for older adults is not to exercise in the evening. Work out earlier in the day or switch to more calming activities once the sun sets – such as meditation, muscle relaxation, stretching or deep breathing exercises.
6. Limit screen time before bed
The blue light that is emitted from TV screens, smart phones, tablets and computers can interfere with the ability to fall asleep. Try to cut back on your screen time earlier in the evening and not right before you’re ready to sleep. It’s also helpful to use your bedroom for sleep and not where you normally spend time on your electronic devices or watching television.
7. Unwind before bedtime
A great tip for older adults is to create a relaxing bedtime routine. Making it part of your nighttime schedule can be a natural way to invite relaxation and rest at the end of the day. Consider what you would enjoy most as you prepare for bed, including a warm bath, reading a book or listening to quiet music.
8. Check medication side effects with your doctor
Side effects of many medications can cause sleep disruptions or difficulty in falling asleep. For older adults who struggle to get healthy rest, make sure you talk to your doctor about any medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs that might be interfering with your slumber.
Retirement living in Wadsworth, Illinois
Galloway Senior Living, locally owned and operated, provides luxury and quality care for families in our community.
Assisted Living at Galloway Senior Living offers beautiful and contemporary private residences that range from alcove studios to two-bedrooms and include high-end stainless-steel appliances, maple hardwood cabinets, cultured marble countertops and thoughtfully curated décor and colors.
Our Memory Care community offers a family kitchen, dining room, walking garden, and lounge.
Our services include:
- 24-hour certified nursing assistants, on-staff licensed nurses, medication management, and on-site physician visits
- COVID-19 safety protocols
- Assistance with daily tasks
- Readily available safe transportation
- A fall-reduction program
- In-unit emergency response systems including an electronic monitoring system for exit doors
- On-site entertainment and activities personalized to reflect the residents’ preferences
- Housekeeping and linen services including personal laundry
Amenities you’ll find at Galloway Senior Living include:
- Country Café and Convenience Store
- Salon and Spa
- Theater with 85” television
- Activity and Craft Center
- Game Room
- Library and Business Center
- Fitness Center
If you or your family is considering retirement living in Wadsworth, Illinois, we hope you will visit our community at Galloway Senior Living. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions.
We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Family Decision Toolkit: How to Choose the Right Senior Living Community.