It’s 2 in the morning. It’s waaaayyyy past your bedtime. You’re trying to take even just a nap. But the nap isn’t trying to take you. As a senior, you desperately need your rest. But you’re not just falling asleep. Here are simple and easy steps that will help seniors improve sleep quality in their life.
1. Make it a Habit – Build a Schedule
Your body is a clock, literally. Humans have a gland in their brains called the pituitary gland. It controls hormones that reflect the passage of time daily. However, that 24-hour biological clock weakens with age.
As ominous as that may sound, the case isn’t entirely hopeless. Changes in sleep quality and pituitary gland function are modifiable or controllable through conscious efforts. Implementing lifestyle strategies will help your body follow a more strict sleeping pattern.
One lifestyle strategy you can implement is following a strict schedule. The body appreciates routine. Keeping a regular schedule – specifically, a sleep schedule – maintains the body’s circadian clock. It will help you sleep and wake up easier.
Here are a few practical details that will help you build a schedule that will help you sleep better:
- Make sure to have a nighttime routine. A regular nighttime pattern tells your body that it’s almost time to sleep. The routine can include reading a book, brushing your teeth, or writing in your journal.
- Put away screens at least a couple of hours before bedtime. The blue light emitting from screens – phones, televisions, or computers – negatively affects sleeping patterns. It tricks the body that it’s still daytime. It tells the body that you should not yet sleep.
- Don’t break the habit! Never deviate from your schedule. It’s easier to break a habit than build it.
2. Exercise More
Since you’ve already made a program to help you better sleep, why not hit two birds with one stone by including exercise into the schedule? At least 30 mins of aerobic exercise will help you sleep better that same night, an article by Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep says.
Although the exact physical mechanism isn’t known, there’s an obvious correlation between sleeping and exercise. Moderate aerobic exercises (exercises that emphasize oxygen intake and increasing heart rate) are shown to increase the slow-wave sleep you get. Slow-wave sleep is the deep sleep part of the sleeping cycle. It’s the part where the mind and body rejuvenate.
It’s not just aerobic exercises that help improve sleep quality. It can be any exercise that does these two things:
- Exercises that release endorphins. Endorphins are happy hormones. They are the body’s natural pain reliever. They are also known to relieve stress – which helps get better sleep as stress prevents sleep.
- Exercises that increase core temperature. Raising your core temperature tells the body that it’s time to be awake and active. It gets the heart pumping, blood flowing, and brain activity buzzing. However, when the core temperature starts going down, it facilitates sleepiness. Experts suggest exercising about a couple of hours before bedtime to make use of this bodily function.
3. Avoid Big Meals Close to Bedtime
The brain controls the digestive system. The brain will not doze off until all its business is taken care of, including the digestive system.
Food intake releases insulin – which controls the body’s sugar levels. Releasing insulin is a process that is linked to the circadian rhythm or the body clock. Big meals before bedtime can affect sleep.
4. Change Your Sleeping Space
Some people can sleep anywhere. But that might not be you. One thing you can try is changing the environment in which you sleep in. You don’t necessarily have to change rooms; you can tweak the room you’re sleeping in now.
One thing you can do is removing sources of unnatural light. As was already explained above, blue light affects the circadian rhythm. Removing them from your room will enhance your ability to sleep easier.
Another thing you can experiment with is the temperature of your room. Your room might be either too cold or too warm for your comfort. It can prevent sleep.
It might seem a little weird, but turning the face of your clocks away from the bed helps. When we can’t sleep, we tend to look at the time. When we see that we’re losing hours of sleep, we stress out more. This stress prevents sleep. We’d get stuck in a vicious cycle of sleeplessness. Turn the faces of clocks away from your bed at night.
5. Need to Improve Sleep Quality? Get Help
If you can’t solve the problem all on your own, get help. There are sleep therapists you can go to. Another kind of help you can get is a caregiver. They can help your sleeping problem and help you employ the tips given here.
Infinite Love Homecare caregivers are professionals used to helping seniors in any way they can. They are prepared to assist you in exercising, preparing for meals, eating assistance, mobility assistance, and even light housekeeping. Infinite Love Homecare services are the most affordable in the Orange County, California, area. They also happen to be the best for seniors.
Whatever your senior parents need, Infinite Love Homecare is ready to assist you. Whether you need care in your own home or care in a board and care facility – we got you covered. We offer free consultations. You can reach us at (949) 529-4130. You can also message us via our Contact Us page. If you need details on what our services are, see our Services webpage.