Senior Health

3/22/2019 | By Laurie Lawson

Your sleep is important throughout your entire life, but it becomes even more vital as you age and enter your senior years. Both your mental and physical health depend on your sleep quality. If you consistently skip out on your sleep, you’ll feel multiple aspects of your life suffer.

The effects of sleep deprivation can amount to serious consequences. While the short-term effects start with trouble concentrating, low energy, and brain fog, the long-term effects can be drastic. These can include risks of obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. Your mental health can also be seriously affected, leading to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

In your senior years, your health becomes a large focus. If you aren’t actively thinking about your sleeping habits and making sure they are up to proper standards, then you’re missing a big piece of maintaining your holistic well-being. The good news is, it’s never too late to start repairing your sleeping habits.

Check out these five tips on how to take charge and get your best sleep.

1. Stay Active

Your body isn’t what it used to be in your twenties and neither is your level of physical activity. That’s a natural change that occurs with aging, not one to be disappointed over. However, keeping up with some level of activity is important for your overall health, especially your cardiovascular and sleep health.

Even a brief 30-minute walk each day can be enough exercise to keep your heart and mind healthy. Exercise provides a benefit to your sleep for both of these reasons. Getting up and moving around helps you burn off excess energy that would otherwise be pent up during the day. It also helps keep your mind active and causes your body to release endorphins. Long-term exercise can contribute to protecting your physical and mental health. Best of all, it makes climbing into bed a relief because you’ll fall asleep easier.

2. Think Before You Eat

What you consume plays a large role in many of your body processes. If you suffer to get good sleep at night, consider the foods you’re eating during the day and when you’re eating them. Excess consumption of caffeine, sugars, and foods that cause heartburn can make it challenging to fall asleep at the end of the day.

When you’re eating your meals matters, too. Avoid large meals close to your bedtime and keep away from caffeine in the last four to six hours before bed. If you need a late-night snack to hold you over, make smart choices with food that won’t keep you up all night.

How to Diagnose and Cure Your Sleep Ailments

3. Wind Down at Night

Sometimes sleeping is a challenge because your mind and body are still too active from the day. Repair this issue by implementing a wind down routine into your evenings. A wind down routine consists of a few activities that helps ease your mind and relax your body in the last few hours before bedtime. Each person has their individual preferences for what works best for them, but there are a few tactics that are known to help wind you down.

First, dim the lights and stay away from technology. Our bodies’ circadian rhythm responds to changes in light exposure. The more light there is, the more stimulated you become, and the opposite is true. Turning down the lights can signal to your body that it’s time to start producing melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Next, find activities that make you feel calm like reading a book, working on a crossword puzzle or knitting. Finish it off by relaxing your body with a warm bath or by doing some light stretches. You’ll find consistently practicing a routine before bed can help you fall asleep faster and get deeper sleep through the night.

4. Get Comfortable

The foundation of good sleep is your comfort. If you’re not comfortable, you’ll be tossing and turning and taking away from your quality of sleep each night. Repair this issue by tackling the root of the issue: your sleeping structure.

Finding the right bed for you can be a challenge with so many different options, but it’s arguably the most important component for your sleep. Check out this guide to learn what to look for and what type of bed will be best for you. Once you address this issue, make it cozy with bedding products that appeal to you. Some people prefer silk sheets while others sleep best on cotton blends. It’s all about what works for you.

5. Optimize Your Bedroom for Better Sleep

Your lifestyle habits and your sleeping structure are now all fixed, so what’s left to do for your sleep? It may be time to go to large measures and call for a bedroom redesign. Even taking small steps to optimize your bedroom for you best night’s sleep can go a long way. Here are a few quick fixes you can make:

  • Paint your walls a calming, neutral shade
  • Try feng shui for a better energy flow
  • Use an essential oil diffuser with calming scents like lavender and chamomile
  • Hang up blackout curtain to block out light disturbances
  • Use a white noise machine to mask disruptive sounds

Trying out a few of these simple changes could be all it takes to get your best sleep.

Remember that it’s never too late or too soon to start focusing on your sleep quality as it plays a big role on all aspects of your health.

Here’s to many nights of sweet dreams!

Laurie Lawson