Most of us realize just how critical it is to sleep at night. Missing your "ZZZs" with insomnia can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well being. Unfortunately, the senior population is most at risk for insomnia and other sleep disorders which result in negative health issues.
Over 50% of senior adults report problems falling or staying asleep. Factors such as poor sleep habits, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, untreated sleep disorders, and other medical issues can all contribute to sleeplessness. Unfortunately, chronic sleep problems can impair concentration and memory functions and compromise the immune system. Additionally, senior adults who don't sleep well are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, depression, nighttime falls, and increased sensitivity to pain.
You might ask, how much sleep do we need each night? Research supports that most healthy adults require between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function optimally.
How can you help restore a healthy sleep pattern?
1. Become engaged in physical and mental activities as much as possible during the day. We all know that exercise is the cure for so many health issues. Exercise releases endorphins that boost mood and reduce stress, allowing for a better night's sleep. Work at avoiding prolonged daytime napping. Limit a nap to 30 to 45 minutes in the early afternoon only if you are tired.
2. Get outdoors and enjoy natural sunlight which regulates melatonin levels and the sleep/wake cycle.
3.Limit the intake of stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Minimize liquids before sleeping--cut off 1.5 hours prior to bed. Avoid large or spicy meals before retiring.
4. Prepare for bedtime by using dim lighting and turning off the TV and other electronics at least one hour prior to going to bed. Develop nightly rituals such as taking a soothing bath, playing relaxing music, reading a book or magazine, praying or practicing mediation. Follow the same routine each and every night.
5.Make sure the bedroom is quiet, cool and dark. Invest in a good quality of bedding for extra luxury.
6. Promote and work to achieve a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking at approximately the same time, 7 days per week.
7. If worries are a source of sleep problems, keep a journal to release your thoughts before retiring for the night.
8. See yourself at a door with your worries on the other side of the door and you telling your worries to "get out, leave!" Close the door on all of your worries, expel them from your thoughts.
If you are a family caregiver and you frequently find your elderly loved one asleep during the day in their recliner, you may want to considered enlisting the support of a professional companion caregiver to encourage your loved one to make the most out of their day. Getting adequate stimulation is essential for overall mental and emotional health, not to mention a better night's sleep. Sometimes a new friend can make all the difference!
If the challenges of family and career are making life overwhelming and difficult to care for a loved one in need of assistance, we can help. Today’s families have very busy lifestyles so many times family members want to help and in many cases try to help but generally it is only a matter of time before it all becomes overwhelming trying to juggle too many tasks at one time. For most just knowing that companies like ours are here when you need support and an extra set of caring hands make the process less stressful and smooth.
Should a loved one need help, call us today 770-442-8664!
Easy Living Services, Inc.
Providing Home Care to Atlanta families since 1994