8 ways for seniors to get a better night’s rest

Lisa Wurth

March 7, 2012

There are plenty of ways for seniors to improve their sleeping habits!Many people experience changes in their sleep patterns as they age, which might include getting tired earlier in the evening, waking up earlier in the morning and getting less deep sleep. However, if your loved one is experiencing disturbed sleep, wakes up still tired every morning or is exhibiting other symptoms of insomnia, it might be time to make a few changes. Here are a eight ways you can improve the sleep of your elderly relatives.

1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol near bed time. Encourage your loved one to drink caffeinated beverages or alcoholic drinks earlier on in the day, when the effects are less likely to disturb regular sleep habits.

2. Skip taking naps. Sleeping too much during the day can make it difficult to fall asleep at night, so it's a good idea to avoid napping. It's okay if this means that bed time needs to be a little earlier.

3. Use the bed only for sleeping and sexual activity. If your elderly relative is reading in bed, watching TV or doing any other type of activity, she might begin to associate the bed with activities other than sleep, which could keep her awake.

4. Make sure the environment is suitable for sleep. There shouldn't be any bright lights or loud noises in the room. Also, it's a good idea to ensure that your relative has plenty of comfortable bedding materials and clothing that's easy to sleep in.

5. Consider a medical alarm system. If your loved one is up at night worrying about potential medical emergencies that may arise, a medical alert from Bay Alarm could give him peace of mind. At the push of a button, the device will contact family, neighbors or, if necessary, the local 911 in the event of an emergency.

6. Try relaxation exercises. Instead of watching TV before bedtime, encourage your loved ones to relax by doing a few yoga poses, engaging in breathing exercises or trying meditation. Even a warm glass of milk might help.

7. Exercise throughout the day. Regular physical activity is important for everyone, including seniors, so make sure your elderly relatives are getting plenty of it. Getting up and moving can improve their mood and make them feel more tired at the end of the day.

8. Don't stay in bed. If your loved one can't sleep, it's better to get her out of bed and do something boring, like reading the dictionary or listening to a dull radio station. When she becomes drowsy, the bed will seem more welcoming.