Tips for Better Sleep Habits as we Age

Are you an older adult who has trouble sleeping? Sleep affects so much of our physical and emotional health–from refreshing the immune system to improving concentration–and as we age, changes in sleep patterns can begin to occur that can lead to getting a less-than-optimal amount each night.

Older adults who don’t get a full night’s rest are more likely to suffer from memory problems, depression, and even slips, trips, and falls. And, studies have even suggested that there is a correlation between change in sleep duration and risk of dementia in older adults. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your nighttime sleep-wake cycle by choosing healthier daytime habits and improving your sleep environment. 

These 5 tips can help you develop a better nightly routine and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated:

  1. Keep technology devices out of the bedroom!  Reading from backlit devices like mobile phones or tablets emit blue light that tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Avoid using these devices at least one hour before bed.
  2. Reduce light and temperature in the bedroom. As we age, we become more sensitive to light. You want your bedroom to be as dark as possible since lights at night can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone naturally produced by your body to make you sleepy. 
  3. Limit your medications, especially sleep aids. Occasional use of sleep aids can be helpful, but many of these medications have side effects that can actually make insomnia worse and are not meant to be used long-term.
  4. Be active/exercise earlier in the day. Exercising or being active throughout the day is one of the best ways to build healthier daytime habits that positively affect your sleep. Aerobic activities like swimming, dancing, or walking release chemicals in your body that promote a more restful sleep.
  5. Once you develop a good bedtime routine – stick to it, even on the weekends! Going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time helps keep your circadian rhythm in order and improve the quality of your waking life.

Sleep becomes even more important as we age, and insufficient sleep can cause a host of both physical and emotional health problems. Identifying and overcoming challenges associated with getting a restful night’s sleep will allow you to be at your level best each day.

Interested in talking about senior living? Our experts at The Lodge at Stephens Lake can help you find the right level of care for you or your loved one. Call 706-307-4330 today.

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