The Cottages Blog

5 Ways Seniors Can Get a Better Night's Sleep

Posted by Dawn Owens on Sep 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM


Many senior adults have irregular sleep patterns caused by anything from poor habits to medication side effects. And while you can’t control everything surrounding your sleeping, there are some steps that you can take to make sure you sleep better each night. Here are five ways you can sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

1. Turn the Lights Off

When you lay down to go to bed, make sure all of the lights in your room are switched off. If you need a nightlight to find your way to the hall or the bathroom, that’s fine. Your circadian rhythm, or sleep cycle, is your body’s natural internal clock that signals your brain when it’s time to be asleep and when it’s time to be awake. Outside influences like light can greatly affect your sleep cycle. Since humans are diurnal creatures, our brains are programmed to know that light means awake and dark means asleep. So when lights are turned on during bedtime, it can confuse your brain and keep you from falling into a deep sleep.

2. No TV in the Bedroom

Just light light, television can distract your brain and keep you from falling into the proper sleep patterns needed for a good night’s rest. If it’s possible, keep the tv out of your bedroom. Many people who do this find that it makes their bedtime routine much easier. Removing the tv from your bedroom is all about making your bedroom solely for sleeping. Fun, engaging activities can be done in other rooms in the house. When you train your brain to know that climbing into bed means rest, you will start to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

3. Invest in a Good Mattress

Sleeping on a comfortable surface can make all the difference in the world. An old or cheaply made mattress can cause or contribute negatively to any number of problems, like back pain, Restless Leg Syndrome, hip pain, shoulder pain, headaches, and so much more. A bad mattress can cause you to wake up every morning feeling sore, stiff, and tired. To find the mattress that is right for you, figure out how much you want to spend, then ask around and read online reviews until you find a mattress store where you feel comfortable making a purchase.

4. Avoid Stimulants Late in the Day

Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all contribute to a poor night’s sleep. Adding these types of stimulants to your body can make it more difficult for your brain to shut off when it’s supposed to. So try to avoid all stimulants after 2:00 PM. While you may not feel wide awake, you have a higher chance of tossing and turning if you have used stimulants during the evening hours. You only need to make small changes to your regular routine to make falling asleep much easier. If you must have coffee before bed, switch to decaffeinated or try hot herbal tea in its place. Instead of a glass of wine right before bed, have a glass of grape juice and get all of the benefits of wine without the alcohol. If you are a smoker, try to cut down on your evening smoking if possible.

5. Exercise Regularly

Having a regular exercise routine can help to reduce your stress levels and reset your sleep cycle. Regular exercise can help you to be more awake and alert during the daytime and to sleep more deeply at night. Exercise is not an immediate fix, however, as it takes some time for your body to reap the benefits. So start slowly now with a few easy exercises every day, and work your way up to daily cardio like evening walks or even short runs if you can. Make sure you stretch just as often as you exercise to keep your body loose and less likely to suffer an injury.


Caregiver's Field Guide to Assisted Living

Topics: Senior Health Care

Dawn Owens

Written by: Dawn Owens

Dawn has been part of the Cottage family for over 10 years. She comes from a strong background in mental health care, with a certification in crisis intervention. Dawn has two daughters, Alika and Ava. She enjoys walking, scrapbooking, and playing softball.