Some people say that old age itself is a disease because it brings so many unavoidable problems with it for the elderly. Most of these problems start from deteriorating health due to lack of sleep.
As a person ages, their sleep cycles start to reduce gradually. But if someone is experiencing insomnia, low quality sleep, or waking up feeling tired then it is not normal. Such problems arise due to mental stress, depression and memory loss issues in the elderly. These issues must not be ignored and should be addressed as soon as possible.
A good night’s sleep is as important for the elderly as it is for the kids. Insufficient sleep can lead to further problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, etc. As you age, your immunity system starts to weaken and therefore even a slight change in the healthy routine can result in major issues.
It is better to recognize the issues causing a disturbed sleep before rectifying them. If you are an aging adult who’s having trouble sleeping at night, try these easy remedies to have a peaceful sleep. These will help you get a good night’s sleep without any disruptions.
Set a Sleep Schedule
The key to a healthy sleeping pattern is a proper sleep schedule. You can achieve a good quality sleep by sticking to a proper bedtime routine. It is advised that you wake up and go to bed at the same time every single day, even on weekends.
You can try going to bed early before your scheduled bedtime because it takes about 15-20 minutes to fall asleep. If it is taking longer than usual to sleep, try doing some activity that soothes your body and calms your mind. You can listen to old music, take a bath, deep breathing, meditation or yoga. No matter what happens, do not take sleeping pills because they have long term side effects which could result in further issues.
Eat Sleep-Inducing Foods
Adapt a healthy diet plan and consume sleep inducing foods that would help you sleep peacefully. These foods contain certain components that catalyze sleep inducing hormones in your body which makes you feel sleepy.
If you are unable to sleep, you can try taking nutrient rich fruits like bananas which are rich in magnesium and potassium and relax your body muscles eventually helping you sleep better. Bananas also contain tryptophan – an amino acid which triggers serotonin and melatonin in the body and causes sleepiness. These hormones relax your body and calm your nervous system.
You can also try eating foods rich in protein as they also contain tryptophan which stimulate serotonin in the human body that causes sleepiness. But do not eat too much of it; just having a slice of any food rich in protein before bedtime should serve the purpose.
Another source of tryptophan are complex carbohydrates. Having some of the smashed potatoes before bedtime will help you sleep peacefully as they are rich in tryptophan and will increase your serotonin levels. If you want to learn more about what to eat and what to avoid before bedtime, this resource by Pillow Insider is a huge time-saver.
Address Your Stress Levels
Sometimes lack of sleep is caused due to rising stress levels, anxiety or depression. If you are unable to sleep, that’s probably because there are some disturbing thoughts at the back of your mind that are making it difficult for you to relax. These stress inducing thoughts build up during the day and disturb your sleep at night.
Whenever you feel stressed or anxious, try writing in your journal and pour your heavy thoughts in it, that will make you feel light headed. You can listen to some good music or read a book that calms you instantly. If all else doesn’t work, ask your partner to give you a soothing massage that will help you to relax. Although it is best to talk it out with someone during the day so you go to bed with a clear mind.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
The most common reason behind lack of sleep in elderly people is excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption. Caffeine gives your body energy and its effects last for about 8 hours so make sure not to consume any caffeinated food or drink in at least 8 hours before bedtime.
Same goes for alcohol; it might make you feel sleepy at first but it will eventually disturb your sleep throughout the night and will keep you awake. So avoid consuming alcoholic drinks close to bedtime if you are experiencing sleep problems.
Reduce Screen Time
Using gadgets such as mobile phones or watching TV in bed can affect your sleep negatively. The blue light that these screens emit influences your sleep and results in a disturbed sleep throughout the night. Keep your gadgets and electronics out of the bedroom and do not bring them to bed when it’s your sleep time.
Use Warm Drinks
Warm drinks are the best natural remedy for a disturbed sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, then having a warm cup of milk before bedtime would surely do wonders. These dairy products also have tryptophan in them which helps you fall asleep. They also contain calcium which stimulates melatonin in the body, hence helping one sleep peacefully.
Apart from dairy products, you can also try warm drinks such as herbal tea or chamomile tea which are quite commonly used for inducing sleepiness. You can also add natural herbs in your tea which act as a natural sedative.
Try Relaxation Exercises
As mentioned earlier, you can remedy your disturbed sleep through simple relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation. These are quite effective and will help you get an undisturbed sleep through the night. These exercises help in relaxing your muscles and put your mind and body at ease. You can also ask your partner or a loved one to massage you for a while; it will also help in relaxing your muscles.
Authored by: Kathy Yates