We recently came across a fascinating article in the Aiken Standard about seniors and sleeping patterns. With aches, pains, hot flashes, and constant bathroom visits, it seems as if seniors generally get less sleep than their younger counterparts. Indeed, research shows that 57% of older adults experience sleep disruption.
Insufficient sleep is not just about yawning or feeling tired the next day; it’s a cause for serious concern because it is linked with hypertension, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. As Dr. Harrison Bloom at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York City explains, “if you have a sleep disorder, the chances of developing one of these conditions is heightened,”
Yet, it is crucial to understand that nightly sleep interruptions (and their repercussions) are not an inevitable part of aging. “Growing older doesn’t mean sleeping poorly, and sleep disturbances shouldn’t be considered part and parcel of aging,” says Michael Vitello, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington.
Improving sleeping habits is an achievable goal, but it requires a few basic lifestyle alterations.
Develop a sleep ritual. Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime or concentrate on relaxing 30 minutes before you get into bed.
Try to go to bed and awaken at the same time every day.
Make your bedroom restful and comfortable. Limit noise and light.
Go to bed only if you feel sleepy.
Try to exercise every day. Exercise helps many people sleep better. But avoid heavy exercise within two hours of bedtime.
Cut down on substances such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which can interfere with sleep, especially later in the day.
Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.
Sleep only in your bedroom. Avoid napping or sleeping on couches or chairs.
If you nap, do so in the early afternoon for a limited time. Some experts suggest 30 to 45 minutes; others say an hour or a bit longer is fine.
If you can’t fall asleep, leave your bedroom. Return only when you feel ready to go to sleep.
Ask your doctor if any of your medications could be keeping you awake at night
Elderly Need To Adapt Their Sleep Patterns – (Aiken Standard)