Sleep can sometimes become less restful as we grow older, leaving us feeling unfulfilled.
Struggling to fall asleep at night increases stress and can perpetuate a cycle of unrest and fatigue that can affect your daytime activities. As you age, your body becomes more prone to restlessness and elderly insomnia. Here are some elderly sleep tips to help your elderly parents sleep better and fuller.
1. Develop nightly rituals. Before going to sleep, develop a nightly ritual that your parents repeat every night. Drinking a warm cup of tea or playing soothing music every night before sleeping can help signal to your brain that it is time for sleep and make it easier to fall asleep once you’ve climbed into bed.
2. The bedroom is a sacred place. While your parents may enjoy reading on e-readers or perusing the internet on their laptops in bed, discourage such activities as they can disrupt the body’s ability to feel comfortable and ready for sleep when it is time for bed. Maintain a peaceful sleeping environment by ensuring that your elderly parents’ bedroom is quiet, cool, and void of disruptive noises.
3. A watched pot never boils. While having clocks available in the bedroom is a great way to indicate what time you sleep or wake up in the morning, this is a sure way to ensure that your parents won’t be able to sleep well if they are experiencing elderly insomnia. Help your elderly parents by removing these sources of anxiety, especially ticking wall clocks and analog clocks that have bright backlights. You want to ensure that your parents’ sleep environment is as peaceful and undisturbed as possible, regardless of their sleep time.
4. Form habits. Encourage you, elderly parents, to consistently sleep at a set time. This will allow their bodies to adjust to sleep and make it easier to fall into a deeper and more restful slumber. If your elderly parents have trouble falling asleep, recommend an earlier bedtime as this can allow them time to adjust to sleeping and also ensure that they sleep long enough.
5. A full stomach is a happy stomach. While large meals before bed are not recommended before bed, make sure that your loved ones don’t go to sleep hungry. This will allow their minds and their bodies to focus on sleeping rather than their empty stomachs. Additionally, advise your elderly parents to avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol directly before bed as this can disturb the natural melatonin hormones that help with sleep.
6. Exercise. Depending on the physical strength of your parents, recommend daily exercise such as swimming, dancing, golf, or running. Such activities are a great way to help the mind and body relax. If your body feels tired and in need of rest, your mind will be more likely to fall asleep more quickly once you are ready to go to bed.
7. Cat naps. As your parents get older, they will inevitably become more fatigued during the day. Allow them to take naps to help them re-energize. Napping can help with your sleeping problems, helping you to feel more energized during the day and lead to a fuller and deeper sleep.
A little adjustment can go a long way. Help your elderly parents sleep easier by ensuring that they are safe and taken care of. This, combined with good sleeping habits, can help you and your elderly loved ones rest easier at night.