Six Sleep Tips for Older Adults

Mar 30, 2023
sleep tips

An essential ingredient in the recipe for a long and happy life is quality sleep. But many older adults find it more and more difficult to not only sleep well but sleep enough and resort to over-the-counter medications to help. But there are plenty of ways to encourage sleep without drugs. Here are six sleep tips for older adults.

Tip #1 – Establish a routine

Perhaps the easiest sleep tips for older adults is to get on a schedule so that going to bed and getting up in the morning are always at the same times. Include in the routine a nightly snack so waking up hungry at 2:00 a.m. doesn’t happen, avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, and take a warm bath to relax. Most older adults need seven to eight hours of sleep so create a routine to ensure that is possible every night. For more ways to get into a sleep routine, check out the health.arizona.edu document, “Sleep Hygiene.”

Tip #2 – Get exercise

Although it may seem counterproductive, another of the sleep tips for older adults is to be active and exercise regularly. But there are some rules to make it work to improve sleep. According to the hopkinsmedicine.org article, “Exercising for Better Sleep,” don’t exercise right before bedtime, but rather leave a few hours for the endorphins gained from exercise to dissipate so the brain isn’t too active. Also important is the fact that exercise raises body temperature which can also make sleep difficult, but falling body temperature actually increases sleepiness.

Tip #3 – Get sunshine

Like the rest of the body, aging changes the brain too. The part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms which signal sleepiness deteriorates, which in turn disrupts sleep/wake cycles. Since circadian rhythms are directly influenced by light it is essential to get the right amount of light at the right time, so one of the top sleep tips for older adults is to avoid bright light a few hours before bedtime and when waking during the night. Learn more in the cdc.gov article, “Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms.”

Tip #4 -Address health problems

Health problems are also among the reasons older adults can’t get the sleep they need, so another of the essential sleep tips for older adults is to consider the possibilities. First, there are sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy that can wreak havoc on sleep as described in the mayoclinic.org article, “Sleep disorders.” The key to getting them under control is to see a physician and get a diagnosis so treatment can begin.  Other potential sleep robbers are medications, pain, incontinence, snoring and stress. Each should be discussed with a physician to pinpoint causes and possible treatment options. Find more in the sleepadvisor.org article, “12 Factors Affecting Sleep and Your Sleep Quality.”

Tip #5 – Revamp the bedroom

Another sleep tip for older adults is that the bedroom should be dedicated to sleeping above all else. According to the sleepfoundation.org  article, “The Bedroom Environment,” there are some important changes that make the bedroom a welcoming and sleep-inducing place to end the day. Among these are:

  • Darkness – Keeping light out at night is key to balancing circadian rhythms so hang heavy light-blocking drapes if outside light is a problem and keep indoor lighting dim while preparing for bed.
  • Temperature – Most people sleep best when the temperature is 65 degrees simply because a lower body temperature makes us sleepy.
  • Noise – Needless to say noise is a sleep disruptor and noise at night can make getting and staying asleep difficult to impossible. Counter noise with noise-blocking drapes or a sleep machine that plays gentle sounds or white noise.

Tip #6 – Banish electronics

It is a fact that electronic devices disrupt sleep thanks to the light they emit on screens and the many noises that signal emails, texts and other updates. The first rule of thumb is to banish all electronics from the bedroom (Yes even the TV!) and leave them in other rooms far enough from the bedroom that you cannot hear.

What about e-readers? Another sleep tip for older adults is that according to the webmd.com article, “Tablets and E-Readers May Disrupt Your Sleep,” even the light from a tablet or other e-reader can impact sleep by suppressing the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.

Ganton’s Countryside makes it easy to sleep well at night and awake ready for each new day. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

assisted living near me

Recent Posts

8 Ways an Independent Living Community Supports Your Lifestyle

What do you want out of retirement? The freedom to roam? Relief from all the responsibilities of owning a home? Time to pursue self-fulfillment? Exceptional services and amenities? No matter how you perceive your desired retirement lifestyle, take a look at some of...

Health Changes to Look for When Visiting Mom Over the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends, but they also offer an opportunity to assess the health and well-being of a senior loved one. This is especially true if it has been weeks or months since the last visit since changes will...

Dementia: Understanding Sundown Syndrome

Dementia is a devastating diagnosis with many implications, not the least of which is a condition known as sundown syndrome. Also called sundowning or sundowner’s syndrome this condition generally strikes late in the day as the sun goes down but can occur anytime...

5 Tips for Better Mornings with Arthritis

“Arthritis” is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases and conditions that cause joint pain and inflammation.  While people of all ages can have arthritis, seniors often expect arthritis to occur as they age and when it does, mornings can be especially painful....

Why Everyone Needs an Advance Directive

Do you know what will happen if you are suddenly incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself? While it’s human nature to adhere to the “that won’t happen to me” mindset, the reality is that no one knows what the future holds. That’s why every adult needs an...

5 Decorating Tips for Your Senior Living Retirement Home

After years of living in a family home, moving to a senior living community and starting anew means decorating a new senior living home, something that can be a fun and exciting experience. But where to begin? Whether the new home is a house, condo, cottage or...

The Alzheimer’s Disease Challenges Women Face

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating and its prevalence is on the rise. According to the alz.org report, “2023 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” in 2023 there are about 6.7 million Americans age 65 and older with the disease, and as the population ages, that...

Home Safety for Older Adults: A Checklist of Top Considerations

Home safety for older adults is top of mind concern for loved ones and adult children. According to the AARP Home and Community Preference Survey,  79% of seniors (ages 50 and above) prefer to live at home as they age, but only about 34% recognize they may need to...

What Services Do Memory Care Communities Provide?

Making the decision to move yourself or a loved one to a memory care community should be a well-informed one. All memory care communities are not created equal, but the best have several things in common. When comparing memory care communities be sure to include the...

Share This