8 Useful Tips for Seniors Struggling with Sleep

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, almost 50% of Aussies have problems sleeping due to various factors such as stress, sleep-disordered breathing, insomnia and ill health.

For seniors, in particular, this could negatively impact their health, making them more prone to conditions like cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes and obesity.

So, if you find yourself constantly tossing and turning at night and staring up at the ceiling, how can you ensure you get the recommended seven to nine hours of good quality shut-eye you need? 

Here are eight useful tips to help you.


1. Treat Sleep Disorders

One of the main reasons why older Aussies struggle to sleep is because they or their partner suffers from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

Symptoms of this common sleep disorder include a person’s breathing constantly stopping and starting, which, therefore, disrupts their sleep cycle. If left untreated, you have a greater risk of suffering from increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, so it is within your interests to seek treatment from a professional.

One potential treatment option for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, which involves using a CPAP machine from a provider like CPAP Direct. This continuous air pressure helps to minimise sleep disruptions by preventing airway collapse, allowing for more restful sleep.


2. Stay Physically Active

A good way to improve the quality of your sleep is to stay physically active.

Research has shown that regular physical activity can markedly improve the length and quality of your sleep.

That said, it is important to time your exercise because if you do it too close to bedtime, the increased heart rate and adrenaline you might experience could actually keep you awake.


3. Manage Your Stress Levels

Chronic stress is not conducive to good sleep. So, if you find you have a lot on your mind, you should take the opportunity to manage your stress levels through various stress-reduction techniques. These include yoga, meditation, enjoying a relaxing bubble bath and listening to soothing music.

Overall, these activities are designed to calm your mind, process your thoughts and reduce any tension or anxiety you might be experiencing. The more you harness their power, the easier you will find it to sleep.


4. Watch What You Eat

You might not have been aware but what and when you eat can be a contributing factor to how well you sleep at night.

As a rule, you should avoid eating a large or heavy meal close to bedtime as this could lead to reflux or indigestion – especially if you have had meals with spicy, greasy or fatty foods.

You should also reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine in the couple of hours before you intend to sleep. These types of beverages can negatively affect the ability of your body to relax and, therefore, settle off to sleep.


5. Maintain a Daily Sleep Schedule

When it is time for you to go to sleep, you should try and do so around the same time every day.

Thanks to its circadian rhythms, our bodies thrive on maintaining consistent routines. Subsequently, if you can try and fall asleep every night and wake up every morning around the same time, you will go a long way towards synchronising your body clock.

The more consistent you are in maintaining your sleep schedule the better quality of restorative sleep you will have.


6. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Going to bed at the same time every day is a good starting point. But you should also give yourself every chance to enjoy good sleep by creating a relaxing bedtime routine.

This should involve not looking at any of your electronic devices for an hour before bedtime because their blue light emissions can reduce the level of melatonin your body produces – the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles.

Instead, directly before you close your eyes you should read, practise deep breathing or enjoy a warm bath. This will signal to your body that it is time to slow things down.


7. Make Your Bedroom as Comfortable as Possible

It doesn’t matter what time you go to bed or how much you try and wind down, if your bedroom is not set up for you to sleep, it is going to be hard to do so.

To create your bedroom as comfortable as possible it is a good idea to keep it tidy. You should also regulate the levels of light, noise and temperature within it to exactly how you like it, because if it is too hot, or shafts of light and loud noise are filtering in from outside, you’ll struggle to settle.

You might also consider buying a new, more comfortable bed, bedding and pillows to sleep on.


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