Rest and Sleep in Old age

Old age – Rest and Sleep

Old age people experience normal changes in sleeping patterns.  They may sleep earlier, wake up earlier, or enjoy less deep sleep. Although these changes are a normal part of aging, disturbed sleep, waking up tired every day, and other symptoms of insomnia are not a normal part of aging. Sleep is important to physical and emotional health over the age of 50. Most children and young adults have no problem getting them. Older people often do.The following tips help overcome age-related sleep problems and get a good night’s rest:

  1. Improve your routine habits for better sleep: Getting engaged in social activities, being optimistic with thoughts, exercising regularly, exposing to early morning sunlight, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake encourages better night sleep.
  2. Better your sleeping environment at nights: Avoid artificial lights like sitting in front of computer or TV or reading from back lit lights from an ipad for longer hours especially before retiring to bed.  Artificial lights at night can suppress your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Spend time outdoors as often as you can before bed time.Use your bedroom only for sleep.Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool, and your bed is comfortable. Noise, light, and heat can cause sleep problems.
  3. Maintain a routine bedtime schedule:  Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.  Adjust your bedtime to match when you feel like going to bed, even if that’s earlier than it used to be.
  4. Develop bedtime rituals: If your mind is too active when you get into bed you will not be able to fall asleep, no matter how tired you are. Follow relaxation techniques that disengages your thoughts. A ritual like taking bath or playing music helps you wind down. Relaxation and stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, benefits substantially.
  5. Limit your use of sleeping aids and sleeping pills: Many sleep aids have side effects and are not meant for long-term use. Sleeping pills don’t address the causes of insomnia and can even make insomnia worse in the long run. Therefore, it’s best to limit sleeping pills to situations where your health or safety is threatened.
  6. Improve day time nap if your sleep at nights is hampered: People are biologically programmed to sleep not only for a long period in the middle of the night but also for a short period in the middle of the day. So, if you don’t feel fully alert during the day, a nap may be just what you need. For many people, taking a brief nap can provide the needed energy to perform fully for the rest of the day.Naps as short as five minutes can benefit health in old age. Try to nap in a comfortable environment preferably with limited light and noise.