As you age, the kind of sleep you get changes pretty dramatically. This is obvious from a very young age; consider how much babies sleep, how much teenagers sleep, and how much you slept as an adult. The amount of sleep we get tends to decrease as we age, in part because we have a number of different obligations we might feel we need to stay awake to meet, in part because of physiological changes. There’s even speculation that the signals that tell your brain to sleep weaken as we age. Sleep remains a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, so how do you make sure you get enough of it?
Watch Your Drug Intake
The most obvious culprit when bad sleep is at play? Caffeine. When you drink a coffee, or even a cup of tea, a few hours before you sleep, you might be too wired to get the rest you need. Your best bet is to avoid caffeine entirely in the 6-8 hours before you go to bed.
Caffeine, of course, isn’t the only commonly used non-prescription drug in the world. There’s a lot of folks who like a glass of wine before bed; as it turns out, that might not be the best idea! The alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but once you sober up, you might wake up – and depending on how much you had, you might have a nasty headache! Avoid drinking right before bed, and always drink in moderation.
With non-prescription drugs out of the way, it’s worth talking about the medication you’re taking. You should let your pharmacist and doctor know that you’re having trouble sleeping, so they can do a thorough review of the medications you’re taking. Some of those meds might be keeping you up, and it’s possible there are alternatives that won’t leave you wired at 2 AM.
Food and Exercise
While your solid food intake probably won’t affect your sleep too drastically, your liquid intake can. Avoid drinking beverages within a couple of hours of sleeping if you find you have to wake up to use the bathroom frequently at night.
Aches and pains are a common source of nighttime wakefulness. These can be alleviated through medication, and may also be alleviated by stretching. Try light flexibility and stretching routines like yoga or tai chi as you get up in the morning and as you go to sleep to relieve some of the stress.
There are a variety of other changes to your habits you might undertake, or you might try something like melatonin a couple of hours before bed. If you take afternoon naps, try to keep them between about 10 and 20 minutes.
You’ll want to stop using screens before bed. Don’t lie down and surf the web, and try to avoid TV right before you sleep; you should keep your bedroom as dark as possible at night.
Stress can be one of the most important causes of late night wakefulness; when you find your regular daily routine has become too stressful, it may be time to hire trustful home care services to help you clean, eat, shop and move around.