Sleep is an important part of overall health for everyone – seniors included. Getting a good night’s sleep is a vital part of making sure you feel healthy, refreshed and ready for the day. As we age, our body’s natural rhythms begin to shift, which may mean a change in sleep pattern for many senior adults. Having trouble sleeping, however, or having trouble staying asleep, are not normal parts of aging.
It’s a common myth that senior adults do not need as much sleep as middle-aged or younger adults. According to the CDC, it’s recommended that adults over 65 aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Are you having trouble getting the sleep your body needs? A few changes to your daytime routine can make all the difference. Here are five, easy-to-follow tips for seniors looking to improve their quality of sleep.
While keeping a flexible schedule is one of the many benefits of retirement, there’s one part of your schedule that should remain consistent: your sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time each day helps your internal clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) stay on track. Find the timing that works best for you and stick to that routine as best you can. You’ll be surprised at how much your sleep quality will improve.
Believe it or not, exposure to bright light during the day can help you get a better night’s sleep. That’s because sunlight is an indicator to your internal clock that it’s time to wake up. Even small changes, such as opening your blinds to let some sunlight in each afternoon, can make a big difference. Daily exposure to sunlight has also been shown to improve mood and feelings of well-being. Aim to get a few hours of sunlight each day – just be sure to use the appropriate precautions, such as sunscreen and protective clothing, to protect your skin from the sun.
Exercise is another great tool for seniors trying to sleep better at night. Studies have shown that individuals who get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day are able to fall asleep more quickly and have better quality of sleep. Even light exercise, such as stretching and walking, can have a big impact. Looking to get active but not quite sure where to start? Click here for help getting started with some of the best exercises for seniors.
For seniors looking to get better sleep, caffeine is not the best option. Did you know that your afternoon cup of coffee can stay in your system for up to six hours? If you drink caffeinated coffee, stick to decaf after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Better yet, skip the afternoon coffee altogether. Decaf tea is tasty alternative – and your quality of sleep will thank you.
Creating a bedtime routine is a great way for seniors to let their body and (mind) know it’s time to wind down for the day. Your routine can include anything that helps you relax and get ready for sleep, but it’s best to avoid technology. The blue light from screens, such as phones, tablets and televisions, can be disruptive when you’re trying to wind down. Taking a bath, reading a book or writing in a journal are all great ways to get relaxed for a good night’s sleep.
At Advent Christian Village, we believe in prioritizing mental and physical well-being so our residents can live their lives to the fullest. That’s why Copeland Community Center, our senior health and wellness center, provides a long list of amenities to energize the body, refresh the spirit and enrich the mind. To learn more about Advent Christian Village, give us a call at 1-888-606-3035, or contact us today to schedule a tour!