Seniors and Sleep

Congratulations, you did it! You made it to 60...to 70...maybe even to 80, or older! You’re what those pesky youngin’s call a “senior citizen”. You don’t feel like one, though. Senior citizens use walkers and wheelchairs and can’t hear what you’re saying without hearing aids. You can walk and hear just fine. You can’t, however, sleep like you used to. When you were younger, there were a lot of things that were just, well, easier. Sleep was one of those things. Now that you have a few more years under your belt, you find that falling and staying asleep is much more difficult than it used to be.

 

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to your sleep as you age. If you are a female, you might be experiencing menopause or post-menopause. Symptoms of menopause include, but are not limited to, night sweats and hot flashes which are not ideal to helping one sleep. Or, maybe, as you’ve aged you’ve encountered a few more medical issues than when you were younger. It could be that many medications that we take negatively impact on our sleep. There is the possibility that you might be retired, which could have caused your social life to decrease significantly. And now that you are older, the potential for you to experience RLS (restless leg syndrome), GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), Sleep Apnea,and other medical conditions significantly rises.

They say that you don’t get older, you just get better. But is being tired all the time the “better” that we want to be? You don’t have to be tired, though. There are definitely limitations on things we have and things we don’t have control over. There also, though, are ways that we can overcome these limitations that negatively impact on our sleep, even as we age.

 

First and foremost is awareness. Being aware of your sleep habits and sleep patterns can help you to identify where your sleep is lacking or in need of assistance. Second is your mental state. Don’t succumb to pessimism. If you begin to feel like “it’s all downhill from here”, it’s important to reach out to a medical professional who can help you work on your mental health. After all, mental health is equally as important to your well being as your physical health is. Third is your level of comfort. If you aren’t comfortable, you won’t sleep well. Making sure to maintain a healthy diet and practicing regular exercise will keep your body in the best physical shape, which will in turn keep you comfortable and help you to sleep. Don’t forget to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible, too, with items such as plump pillows and soft sheets. The more inviting your bedroom is, the more comfortable you will be. Lastly, just because you might not have the same daily schedule and commitments that you had when you were younger doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a regular routine. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning are crucial to help you get your best sleep.

 

Just remember, you did it. You did get older, you did get better, and now with these few little tips, you are now still getting great sleep. So, again, congratulations!

 


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