Everyone loves that feeling of waking up rested after a good night’s sleep. But as we age, this feeling can be less and less common. There are a variety of biological reasons for sleep to become more difficult as we age, but there are ways to help improve the sleep cycle for older adults. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s sleep patterns, here are some things to consider.
Maintain a Regular Schedule
Especially when it comes to older adults experiencing cognitive or memory loss, maintaining a regular schedule is essential for all aspects of their day-to-day comfort. A regular schedule will help them feel more comfortable with their surroundings and their activity, and it will also help them get better sleep at night.
Changes in routine often cause unnecessary stress, so keeping each day as uniform as possible will allow your loved one to remain calm and even throughout the day, making sleep more accessible at night.
Avoid Naps if Possible
Many people associate napping with the natural aging process. If someone is unable to get enough rest at night, napping at intervals throughout the day can help them feel more rested overall.
It seems harmless enough, but naps can also cause nighttime insomnia. Sleeping throughout the day interrupts the body’s natural cycle, which can make it misinterpret signals at night. If a loved one can’t sleep at night, eliminating naps can help turn the tide.
Develop an Exercise Routine
Physical exercise also helps the body adjust to the right schedule for sleep. A solid, and regular, exercise routine can give the body the right energy it needs to remain awake and alert during the day, but also feed into the right patterns for a good night’s rest.
You can develop an exercise program that works specifically for your loved one. Walking, yoga, water aerobics, or other activities can make a person active without causing joint pain or other issues associated with aging.
Eat Well at Appropriate Times
Nutrition also plays an important role in good sleep health. Eating healthy meals throughout the day will help give their body the right energy it needs to remain on a proper schedule. However, the right diet will depend on the individual’s specific nutritional needs.
It is also important to know when to eat. Eating just before bed will interrupt the body’s natural sleep patterns since body systems will be focused on digestion rather than sleep. Don’t eat anything after 8 p.m. to give the body a chance to wind down for the night.
Create a Nighttime Routine
The routine right before bed can also positively or negatively influence sleep patterns. Your loved one should create a nighttime routine that is conducive to sleeping well.
Getting to bed at the same time each night. Don’t use technology, such as a tablet or e-reader in bed. Reading a book can help the mind relax, but the light of the screens can keep the brain awake. Sleep with the temperature cooler than you would keep the home during the day, block out any ambient light from the room, and make sure the mattress is comfortable.
Relative Care can help create a routine to allow your loved one to experience better sleep patterns as they age. Contact us today to learn more about our in-home care services.