A Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for the Elderly

Sleep is the single most important factor when it comes to physical and mental health especially in case of seniors. A good night’s sleep rejuvenates your immune system and has positive effects on cognitive capabilities like memory and concentration. Unhealthy sleeping patterns on the other hand can lead to medical problems, lethargy and insomnia. They can upset your normal body functions.

Common causes of sleep problems

Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea are common causes which lead to incomplete sleep. High quantities of caffeine in your diet may improve the brain functions while you are awake but an overdose of such stimulants makes sleeping very difficult. Consuming alcohol, although widely considered as a remedy for sleeping problems, is also a known cause of restless sleep. In case of seniors, excessive liquid consumption and eating large meals before sleeping tends to disrupt sleep through discomfort caused by indigestion, heartburns and unexpected bladder pressure. Pain medications sometimes have the side effect of sleeplessness. A lack of physical activity and daytime napping is also another reason as to why you may not feel sleepy when you actually do need to sleep.

Pointers for a good night’s sleep

– Cutting down on your intake of stimulants like coffee, cigarettes and tea will help you considerably. Even if you can’t quit or cut back on any of them, try avoiding them at least three hours before you plan on sleeping.

– Maintaining a routine is the most important factor which you need to consider when suffering from poor quality sleep and general sleeplessness. Irregular sleep patterns need to be rooted out by planning your sleeping hours in advance and sticking to them. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day; even on the weekends or while you are on vacation.

– Limit your medication intake and try to avoid sleeping pills as they can do more harm than good. Talk to your physician about alternate solutions if you feel that certain pills make you feel sleepless or have a side effect which disrupts your sleep.

– Staying active, exercising, fresh air and sunlight will do wonders to in helping you with your sleeplessness. Physical activities will wear you out and your body will automatically demand sleep. Fresh air and sunlight increases melatonin content in your body which is an essential component in regulating sleep-wake cycles.

– Napping may help you feel fresh in the short run but long hours spent napping will cause your sleep-wake cycles to go haywire. Try napping for short periods like 30mins to an hour.

– Minimize your food intakes and eat light before you plan on sleeping but never go to sleep on an empty stomach. Acidosis and heartburns are common side effects of sleeping after a heavy meal.

Sleep is an important part of your daily routine which is essential in keeping you healthy and in the best state of mind. Poor sleeping patterns and habits as well as untreated insomnia deprives your body of an essential function which it needs to perform in order to stay active and in the best of state. Try falling asleep without pharmaceutical interference, maintain a routine and stay active to ensure that you stay in the best of health.

Author Bio: Teisha Mahabir specializes in writing articles about health, diet, longevity and health specialists like Brenda Rusnak. Brenda Rusnak is a health care specialist who writes about health-aging and prevention. For more information about healthy-aging and Brenda Rusnak, check her out on LinkedIn.

Category: Wellness, Fitness and Diet
Keywords: guide,good,nights,sleep,elderly,seniors,yips,longevity,healthy,aging,health

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