As we get older, good sleep can be harder and harder to get. People over the age of 55 are known for suffering from sleep disorders such as terrible insomnia keeping them awake all night, or sleep patterns that make it hard to stay in bed past 4am. But it doesn’t have to be this way… In this article, we give you 14 tips on how to get better sleep at night!
Develop a Nighttime Routine
One of the best ways to get better sleep is by establishing a routine before bedtime.
The goal here is to repeat a process night after night that relaxes your mind and body and signals it’s time for sleep. A simple routine such as taking a warm shower followed by reading and journaling can help.
While there’s something so refreshing about taking a nap, it oftentimes can negatively affect your sleep at night. Unless you really can’t keep your eyes open, avoid napping during the day to get better sleep at night.
There are so many benefits to exercising! Getting in at least 20-30 minutes of exercise can have a positive effect on the quality and duration of your sleep. Just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime, as it can actually give you more energy which makes sleep more difficult.
Cool the Room
Your body prefers to sleep in a room that’s a bit on the cooler side between 60-67 degrees. If the room is too warm (or freezing cold), you might not sleep as well. Having the room at the proper temperature is another way how to get a good night sleep.
Block Light and Noise
To get better sleep, you need to block light from getting into the room. Things like outside security lights, alarm clocks and cell phones all emit light that can hurt your sleep quality.
The same goes for noise. Silence your phone and put it on ‘do not disturb’ so there’s no distractions. You may also want to consider using eye covers, blackout curtains and things that emit white noise such as fans or humidifiers to help you sleep better at night.
Sleep on the Right Mattress and Pillows
This one seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people just accept having an uncomfortable mattress and pillow set, which can keep you tossing and turning all night long.
Be sure your mattress and pillows and comfortable and support your body in all the right places.
Don’t Use Alcohol, Tobacco or Drink Caffeine Near Bedtime
Put down that nightcap cocktail! Alcohol can make sleep difficult and inhibit you from reaching deeper REM sleep, so it’s wise not to drink any before bedtime.
Smoking cigarretes or using other tobacco products has also been shown to decrease sleep quality and duration, as the nicotine stimulates your body’s systems.
Lastly, we all know how caffeine can keep you up at night. If you wish to drink coffee at night, be sure it’s decaf.
Practice Deep Breathing or Meditation
Mediation and deep breathing exercises can help put your body and mind in a state of ease and help you sleep better at night.
To get started, try something as simple as taking 5 deep breaths – inhaling for 5 seconds through your nose and exhaling 5 seconds through your mouth.
Consider a Sleep Supplement
Melatonin is a natural substance released in your brain as a response to your circadian rhythm. When it gets dark, your body naturally releases melatonin to help put you to sleep. During daylight, melatonin release is restricted so you feel more awake.
Some people who have trouble sleeping swear by taking a melatonin supplement, claiming it helps them fall asleep faster. You can find melatonin in stores or online.
Don’t Watch TV or Use Your Phone in Bed
The light waves released by electronic devices trick your body into not releasing melatonin, which can cause you to not feel sleepy. Additionally, the stimulation from what you’re watching can make sleep difficult.
As a general rule of thumb, turn off all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bedtime to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.
Have a Consistent Sleep/Wake Cycle
Another tip to sleep better is to have a solid sleep/wake cycle. This is so important to your overall sleep health. If you go to sleep one night at 1am and wake up at 10am, then the next night fall asleep at 8pm and wake up at 6am, your body can become confused as to when it’s time to power down and fall asleep.
Aim to have the same time you go to bed and wake up each day. After a couple weeks of doing this, you’ll see a positive improvement in your sleep.
Take a Warm Shower or Epsom Salt Bath
Taking a warm shower prior to sleep can help your muscles and mind relax, allowing you to sleep better and deeper. Don’t overdo the heat or time in shower though, as taking too hot of a shower can have adverse effects.
If you’re more of a bath person, try mixing Epsom salts into the bathwater, which can relax your muscles and help you sleep better at night.
Take Zinc and Magnesium Before Bed
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that not only helps you sleep better, but has a ton of other benefits as well.
Get Checked by a Professional for Sleep Disorders
If you have bad insomnia or other sleep problems, you may want to consider talking to your doctor and getting a sleep study.
Disorders such as sleep apnea can not only cause you to sleep poorly, but can cause other adverse health problems. When in doubt, always check with your doctor!
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