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A Quick Roundup Of Sleep Tips For The Elderly

As we get older, our bodies change in a number of ways, and you might find that you fall asleep and wake up much earlier, or that you simply aren’t waking up feeling as refreshed as you’d like to.

However, sleep is just as important for older people, if not even more important, as you can see in this article from the National Sleep Foundation.

If this is the case, don’t worry, as we have some simple and straightforward sleep tips to help!

As a general rule, it’s recommended that people over the age of 65 actually get a little bit less than normal adults, with a recommended sleep time of seven to eight hours, although everybody’s body is different!

Illness

If you’re suffering from conditions such as arthritis, sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome, or any other kind of illness, they can make it a lot harder for you to get to sleep at night.

If this is the case, be sure to talk to your GP as there may be some medication they can prescribe which could alleviate your symptoms and help you get to sleep.

On the other hand, some medications which you’re on could be having the opposite effect, and keeping you awake at night.

Make sure that your doctor knows exactly what you’re taking, and how often, as they’ll know what the best course is for you.

Life Changes

A lot changes in your life as you get older, particularly that you have a lot more free time in your retirement.

This usually means that people find that they’re a lot less active than they once were. This change in your body can affect your body clock, so be sure to try and find ways to keep your brain and body active during the day.

This could mean doing some simple exercise or simply going for a walk or doing some gardening.

This post from NHS Choices goes into some more information on the importance of staying active as you get older and gives some good examples of things to try.

Things such as illness, finances and the death of friends and loved ones can also have an impact on us as we get older, and cause stress which prevents us from getting the sleep that we should.

Again, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor if stress is affecting you, as they will be able to recommend things you can try, such as breathing exercises, which will help relax you before bed.

Get into a Routine

All the same things which apply to everybody else still apply to older people when it comes to sleep, so this means getting into a good sleep routine and sticking to it.

If you keep a strict bedtime, even on the weekends, your body will soon acclimatize and start to naturally shut down when it’s time to go bed.

It’s a good idea to incorporate a warm bath into your routine before you go to bed, as this drops your body temperature and relaxes you, ready for sleep.

You should also an hour or so before bed just to wind down, with no TV or other electronic devices.

If possible, try to avoid taking any naps during the day too. Older people do tend to nod off during the day, but napping means that you’re less likely to get to sleep at night.

Treat Your Body Right

Treating your body right gets even more important the older you get, and there are a couple of things you should avoid or cut down on, especially before you go to bed.

Caffeine is an obvious no-go, as is alcohol. While a small glass of wine or two may help you nod off in the short term, once the effects wear off, it’ll disturb your sleep and leave you feeling even more tired in the morning.

In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid fluids completely before bed, because as you get older, your bladder gets weaker, and you don’t want to have to be getting up all the time to go to the toilet.

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