Facts about Sleep:
- Most seniors need approximately 7.5 hours of sleep a night.
- As we age we spend less time in deep sleep, meaning many older adults get less quality sleep.
- Our internal clock changes and many seniors may find that their sleep becomes spread throughout 24 hours instead of just during the night.
- Lack of sleep or having poor quality sleep can impair balance, and reduce reaction time and increase your risk for a fall.
- Many medications used to treat trouble sleeping can increase your changes of having a fall.
- Lack of sleep can cause inattentiveness, memory disturbances, and lowered cognitive function.
What can you do?
Four R's to a good nights sleep:
- Regularize your sleep wake patterns. Get up at the same time daily and avoid naps unless they are regular.
- Ritualize cues for a good nights sleep. Keep the environment quiet, dark, cool, and safe for sleeping. Go to bed only when you are sleepy.
- Relax. Find ways to reduce stress and control tension. Some people watch television, read a book, listen to soothing music, soak in a warm bath, or doing some gently stretches.
- Resist behaviours that interfere with sleep: keep away from alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
Other Tips for a good nights sleep:
Have a comfortable mattress, a pillow, and enough blankets for your comfort.
Exercise at regular times each day but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.
Avoid heavy meals before bed, but a light snack in the evening can help you get a good night's sleep.
Make an effort to get outside in the sunlight each day.
Drink fewer beverages in the evening. Waking up to go to the bathroom and turning on a bright light break up your sleep.
Use your bedroom only for sleeping. After turning off the light, give yourself about 20 minutes to fall asleep. If you're still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed. Wehn you feel sleepy, go back to bed.