Do you become sleepy earlier?
Do you wake up earlier in the morning?
Do you sleep fewer hours than you did when you were younger?
Do you feel as if your sleep isn’t deep?
If you responded “yes”, relax! That’s perfectly normal for older adults.
Do you wake up frequently in the night?
Do you wake up tired every day?
Do you feel tired during the day?
Do you have problems focusing?
What causes insomnia experienced by older adults?
The causes of insomnia in older adults differ from that of younger people. Seniors are more likely to experience insomnia for the following reasons:
—Need to urinate
—Post-menopausal hot flashes and night sweats
—Lack of sunlight during the day
—Lack of exercise
—Lack of social engagement
—Sleep disorders, such as Restless Legs Syndrome, snoring and sleep apnea
—Poor sleep habits and sleep environment. One overlooked reason is that older people are more likely to have older mattresses.
10 Holistic Sleep Tips for Seniors
To increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, try these holistic methods:
1. Add plants to your bedroom. English ivy alleviates symptoms of asthma and allergies. English ivy and snake plants purify the air. Spider plants absorb odors and fumes. Lavender encourages relaxation, slows heart rate, and reduces blood pressure and stress. Gardenia relieves anxiety and promotes sleep. Jasmine improves sleep and productivity.
2. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to relax your mind and body. Try lavender, Roman chamomile, sandalwood or marjoram aromatherapy lotion or spray before you lay down.
3. Socks and, if necessary, gloves will keep your extremities warm and encourage sleep.
4. Turn down the thermostat and snuggle under a warm quilt or blanket or sleep in the buff. It’s easier to fall asleep if your body temperature is slightly lower than normal.
5. Reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcohol or food the last few hours before you sleep. They can cause sleep disturbances.
6. Take a hot bath, because the drop in body temperature after you get out signals your body it’s time to sleep.
7. Drink a warm glass of milk for the tryptophan. If you’re lactose-intolerant, you can buy supplements with tryptophan.
8. Buy a new bed. If your bed is more than 10 years old, it’s worn out. Research shows that a new bed may be more effective than taking sleeping pills.
9. Don’t nap during the day. If you sleep during the day, you won’t be sleepy at night.
10. Visualization meditation sends your mind to a calm and enjoyable locale. As you envision the sights, sounds and scents of your imaginary adventure, you’re sure to drift off.
Although the benefits of exercise in preventing insomnia were detailed before, exercise deserves another mention. Exercise benefits every single system in your body, including your mind.
You don’t have to take a class or go to a gym to exercise. Walk your dog. Go swimming. Bowl. Take a walk in nature, and your stress level is guaranteed to decline.
Exercise at Sugar Hill
Walk with us on two miles of hiking trails at Sugar Hill Retirement Community. We also offer regular exercise classes and machines in the fitness center and a regular stretching session in the coffee shop. Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, offers golfing and skiing, as well as boating, fishing, and swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee. Stretch your legs and take a tour of our cooperative retirement community!