Senior Health: 5 Ways to Get Better Sleep

By SARAH CUMMINGS

Like many things in life, the manner in which we sleep alters considerably as we age. The deep, enjoyable sleep that leads you to be totally unaware of the outside world and its sounds, is known as “slow wave sleep.”

When you get older, slow wave sleep lessens and starts to get harder to come by. It’s a natural occurrence to experience a lowering of total sleep time too. Experts have revealed that by the time we arrive at 70-years-of-age, the average nighttime sleep we have is around 6.6 hours.

You should remember that just because you’re aging, and you’re sleeping less, it doesn’t always translate into the fact that you’re not sleeping well or having sleep issues.

If you know that you’re not sleeping too well, you’re getting up a lot during the night, or generally not feeling like you’ve charged your batteries, then you consider paying a visit to the doctor to check that everything is okay.

Before you do make an appointment to see your doctor, take a look at these five ways that you can help get better sleep. Each point has been proven to work and they may or may not work for you, so give them a go and see what works best for you, as each strategy is individual.

Get Moving!

First things first, you should be aiming to get yourself regularly active. Arguably one of the most important things (hence being the first point) is getting yourself moving. Staying active has a multitude of benefits that you can enjoy, with better quality of sleep being one of the major factors.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be completing triathlons seven days a week to qualify as being a regular mover, although sports such as skiing have been known to improve balance and health. You can indulge in simple activities, such as:

  • Taking a brisk walk every day
  • Doing some gardening
  • Going to an exercise class for older adults
  • Taking part in physical activity can really make a significant difference, but don’t think you have to do too much too close to your bedtime, though, or you’ll be full of too much energy to wind down and fall asleep.
  • Get the exercise done in the morning, or during the daytime, and then take part in some light stretching before bedtime for optimum results when it comes to improved sleep.

Get Your Mattress Right

Mattresses are with us throughout our lives; from the moment we’re old enough, we lay on mattresses when it comes to going to sleep, and they play an integral part in our sleep too!

Essentially, it’s thought that just as long as your mattress has a soft and thick casing, it should do the trick. However, this isn’t always the case, and mattresses are a very individual thing.

If you are having sleepless nights, it may well be worth considering changing your mattress. You can find out more about new mattresses by visiting useful websites that will be able to help you find the right one for you.

Think About Your Routine

If you’re a senior, then you can adapt and adopt a number of things in your life that can assist in giving you a better night’s sleep. Take your daily routine for example; if you enjoy a nap during the day, restrict your sessions to half an hour and only during the early afternoon.

Choosing smaller, lighter evening meals are also useful to aid better sleep. Think about eating fish, salads and vegetables over pasta or pies and you could enjoy improved and more consistent sleep.

You can also reduce how much you drink during and after dinner as a way of helping to cut down those pesky middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.

What’s good about having your own evening routine is that it doesn’t really take much effort to do, so why not include some reading (don’t read in bed if you have an eBook). The bed should strictly be reserved for sleeping and sex.

Take a Warm Bath

This is a good idea to add to your repertoire of daily routine activities, perhaps. Draw yourself a nice warm bath, and when you get out of the water, the drop in your body’s temperature may help you feel tired.

Baths are great for helping you to feel more relaxed and support the feeling of slowing down, so you’re more to feel ready for bed, making restful sleep increasingly probable.

Leave the Paperwork Alone

Last but not least, if you find yourself filling in insurance forms, changing bank details, enrolling and signing up for services online, then make sure all of this is kept away from your bedtime routine.

There’s always time in the day to get clerical work and general housekeeping done; after all, what’s more important than our sleep? MSN

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