12 Strategies for a Senior to Improve Sleep
Inadequate sleep is a major health issue in the United States. About 50 percent of U.S. citizens feel sleepy during the day between three and seven days each week. Over 35 percent of U.S. adults indicate that they average less than seven hours of sleep each night. Seven hours is the minimum amount of sleep an adult needs each night – including seniors – to enjoy optimal wellness. If you are not getting a proper amount of sleep on a regular, consistent basis, you may want to consider one, some, or all of the strategies outlined in this article.
If you consistently are having issues getting an appropriate amount of healthy sleep and you are married or living with a significant other, you may want to consider the idea of sleeping separately. This may seem like a drastic recommendation. However, when considering the importance of sleep regarding your overall health and wellness, you may need to consider this step. The fact is that sleeping with another person – even someone you have been with for a long time – may be an actual reason why you are not sleeping well.
Cool the Room
There’s nothing like a cool room to help you get a good night’s sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal room temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If your room is too hot or too cold, it can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Have Sex a Couple of Hours Before Bed
Researchers have concluded that regular sex can help a person get a better night’s sleep. However, they also have recognized that sex directly before bedtime may make it more difficult to fall asleep. Therefore, they recommend having sex regularly but a couple of hours before a person’s bedtime.
Researchers also recommend using certain supplements in some instances as tools to assist seniors in obtaining an appropriate amount of sleep consistently. Examples of supplements that may have the propensity to improve sleep for seniors include:
Before incorporating supplements into your daily regimen, consult your doctor. Your physician can determine whether any particular supplement might conflict with a medication you are taking at this time.
Use a Screen Shader
A screen shader is a mechanism or app that reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your devices (like your laptop, notebook, or mobile phone). Ideally, you avoid using these devices before bedtime. However, evidence suggests that reducing the amount of blue light exposure can help a person sleep better at night.
Wear Blue Light-Blocking Glasses
On a related note, you may consider wearing blue light-blocking glasses as part of your overall strategy to improve your sleep. Blue light-blocking glasses are a type of eyewear that help reduce exposure to blue light. Blue light has been shown to cause eye strain, headaches, and disrupt sleep patterns. Blue light-blocking glasses can help alleviate these issues.
The benefits of blue light-blocking glasses don’t stop there. They can also help improve vision and protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Blue light-blocking glasses are a great way to improve your overall eye health.
Keep a Worry Journal
A worry journal can be a very beneficial tool for those who struggle with anxiety. It can help to track your worries and what you do to try and address them. This can help to identify patterns and areas of improvement. Additionally, a worry journal can be a helpful way to calm down and clear your head before bed. Writing down your worries can help you to relax and fall asleep more easily.
Use a White Noise Machine or App
You may want to consider investing in a white noise machine. Keep in mind that there are apps available on smartphones and the like that produce white noise. Here are just a few of the benefits of taking advantage of white noise:
- White noise can help block out noise from outside sources, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- White noise can also help mask sounds that disturb sleep, such as traffic noise or neighboring apartments.
- White noise machines or apps can come in handy during times of stress or anxiety, as they can help promote relaxation and calmness.
- Some machines or apps even have timer settings, so you can use them for brief periods without worrying about turning them off.
Eliminate the Intake of Caffeine Completely
Yes, you read that correctly. If you have a persistent problem with getting a healthy amount of sleep, consider kicking the caffeine habit altogether. Certainly, you should refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages in the latter part of the afternoon or evening if you have sleep issues. However, in some cases, how a person’s body metabolizes caffeine no matter what time of day consumed can impact that individual’s ability to get a proper amount of sleep.
People have been meditating for centuries to achieve better sleep. The benefits of meditation for sleep are numerous and vast. People who meditate regularly generally enjoy better, more restful sleep than those who do not. There are several reasons why meditation can help improve sleep:
- Meditation helps clear the mind and relax the body, promoting a more restful state of mind and body.
- Meditation helps to train the mind to focus on one thing at a time, which can help quiet racing thoughts or insomnia caused by stress or anxiety.
- Meditation is a form of exercise that can help to tire the body out and promote a better night’s sleep.
- The practice of mindfulness meditation can help people become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, which can help them better understand why they might be experiencing difficulty sleeping and how to address those issues.
Get a Proper Pillow
You need to make certain you have a bed pillow that works for you. There is much subjectivity when selecting a proper pillow that enhances your comfort and sleep.
A proper bed pillow should not only be comfortable but supportive as well. Finding the right pillow for your sleeping position, body type, and size is important. Some people prefer a thinner pillow, while others need a more cushioned one. Memory foam pillows are popular because they mold to your head and neck for extra support.
Keep in mind that your pillow does not last forever. You may be surprised to learn how frequently a pillow ideally is changed. Changing your pillow every six to 12 months is ideal. With that said, the timing of a pillow change depends on how often you use it and how long it takes to become stained or covered in dust mites. You may want to change your pillow more often if you have allergies.
Get a Massage
Massage has been shown to improve sleep quality, helping you to feel more rested and energized when you wake up. There are a few different ways that massage can help improve sleep. First, massage can help relax the body and mind, promoting a state of calm that is conducive to sleep. Massage can also help relieve tension and stress, which are common factors contributing to insomnia. Finally, massage can improve circulation and digestion, both of which affect how well and how long we sleep.
If you continue to struggle with getting a good night’s sleep, see your doctor. You may have an underlying medical condition like sleep apnea that is preventing you from getting the quality of sleep you must have to live a truly healthy life.