You might be surprised to learn how central a role sleeping plays in maintaining your health. According to the U.S. Department of Health, getting enough sleep can help you avoid illness, reduce stress, improve your mood, and help clear your mind throughout the day. Troubled sleep schedules can have a number of causes, like poor eating or drinking habits, daily activities, or pre-bedtime routines. Brightwater Senior Living has compiled a list of ways to improve your sleep as a senior to enhance your daily quality of life.
Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
You probably aren’t having consistent cups of caffeinated coffee before bed, but other foods and drinks like chocolate, tea, and soda also contain caffeine, which can disrupt your sleep schedule both by acting as a stimulant and causing you to urinate more frequently. These effects can occur when you consume caffeine up to six hours before bed, so time your evening coffee or chocolate dessert accordingly.
Create & Stick to a Consistent Schedule
Even if you don’t have any events or engagements to attend in the morning, it’s important to get into the habit of waking up and going to sleep around the same time every day. This helps maintain your body’s internal clock, meaning you’ll eventually find yourself naturally waking up and falling asleep at similar times. This will help you feel more rested. It doesn’t matter whether you decide to get up early or sleep late – it’s all based on your own preference. Consistency, not timing, is key. However, you should still make sure your schedule allows for 7-8 hours of sleep.
Set Up a Bedtime Routine
Sticking to a consistent bedtime routine will help maintain your sleep schedule and get you into a sleeping mindset. You could take a bath, listen to quiet or relaxing music, or work on crossword puzzles up to an hour before your designated bedtime. However, try to stay out of bed for these activities. Doing awake activities in bed can disrupt your body’s association with the bed as being a place for sleeping.
Stay Busy Throughout the Day
If you spend your entire day sitting or lying down in your room, you’re not going to be very tired come bedtime. You don’t have to take part in exercise classes – simply make an effort to leave your room throughout the day, spend time with your friends, and engage in activities that stimulate your mind, like painting or reading. The more mentally or physically tired you are at the end of the day, the better you’ll sleep.
We hope these suggestions give you some ideas about how to maintain better sleep habits and how important sleep is to your overall health as a senior. For more information on staying in good health in your golden years, visit Brightwater’s blog.