Sleeping Tips for the Elderly
20 May 2019
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to our health. In the short term, interrupted sleep can make us irritable and make it difficult to concentrate. However, in the long term, it can lead to serious medical problems as well as making recovery from illness or injury take longer.
As we get older, sleeplessness starts to become a little more common. Aches and pains, for instance, can make it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in and may wake us during the night. If you are finding it difficult to sleep at night, here are some useful tips to help you achieve good sleep hygiene and get some much-needed rest, ready for the day ahead.
We need total darkness in order to sleep most effectively, and although the bedroom may seem dark when we switch off the light, there is often ambient light which becomes brighter once our eyes adjust to the darkness. Ways to reduce the light pollution in our rooms include:
- Using blackout curtains or blinds to block out moonlight and street lamps
- Removing electronic devices from the room
- Not using a digital clock
Our bodies are designed to sense danger while sleeping, this is a natural survival instinct that has evolved over millions of years and it’s hard to turn it off. One of the key triggers to our survival instinct is the appearance of sound. Sudden noises from the street or neighbours will alert us and cause us to wake. Block these out by using thicker curtains and double glazing if possible. If you live in a flat in a shared building, a draught excluder at the front door will also prevent some of the sound from entering your home. You should also remove any noise from your bedroom, such as a ticking clock, electronic devices or even a snoring partner.
Get sunlight during the day
Sunlight helps to regulate melatonin, the hormone which governs our body clocks and tells us when it’s time to be awake and time to be asleep. At least two hours of sunlight each day will help your body understand the difference between day and night and consequently prepare you for sleep when the time comes.
Avoid watching TV at bedtime
We all want to unwind before we go to bed, and an hour in front of the TV seems like a good way to do just that. However, the light from the television, and the combination of sounds and colours, not to mention the content you are viewing, acts as a stimulant and makes it difficult to sleep. Instead, consider reading a book for half an hour or so in order to help you switch off. Although do use a paper book, as devices such as tablets and e-readers will also have a stimulant effect.
Make sure you have the right mattress
If your mattress is old or too hard or too soft, it can make sleeping very difficult. Everyone sleeps differently and for each sleeping style, there is a mattress to suit. Have a look at our guide to choosing the right mattress for your sleeping style to find out more.
At Rise and Recline Ltd, we specialise in supporting elderly adults achieve a better night’s sleep through our range of adjustable beds. To find out more, view our adjustable beds range or request a brochure.