Time never seems to move as slowly as when you are tossing and turning in bed. As we get older, it often takes longer to doze off, and it is not the deep sleep we remember from the past. These changes in sleep patterns often happen due to changes in the body's internal clock.
Napping during the day can make it worse. Then there are nocturnal visits to the bathroom and noises that might not have bothered us before. Still, experts recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep, if possible.
If you are experiencing sleep problems, these tips can help you rest better as you get older.
Being Active During the Day Helps at Night
Give your body a good reason to rest. Keep moving throughout the day, with regular workouts at similar times—as long as they are at least three hours before bedtime. A little sweat and some sun (with sunscreen) can wear you out naturally.
Evening exercises like yoga and muscle stretching can increase feelings of relaxation, which improves your sleep quality.
Optimize Your Environment for Sleep
Make sure the problem isn't with your surroundings. Black-out curtains can block headlights from flashing in your window. If you can't even remember what year you bought your mattress, it may be so worn-out that it's doing more harm than good. That could be the reason you can't find a comfortable position. Keep the thermostat around 65 degrees, if you can.
Stick to a Schedule for Better Sleep
You're probably falling asleep earlier in the evening and waking up hours before you want to. Then you drift off into a nap during the day, throwing you off even more. Establish a bedtime that you're comfortable with, even on the weekends, and let your body adjust to it.
Ease into It
Rather than switching off the TV and hoping to fall asleep, start the process at least an hour earlier. Consider taking a warm bath so that you feel a drop in temperature that makes you drowsy when you get out.
Turn off all the screens you use, including your phone, and read a book or listen to soothing music instead. Then you will be halfway through a transition to sleep before you even turn out the light.
Resting Your Ears Leads to ZZZZZs
If you seem to startle at every sound, try a sound machine or sleeping app on your phone to block out the background noise. If you do not like the sounds of the ocean or Tibetan monks, keep trying—you may prefer white noise or binaural beats, and there are endless other options.
It is a personal issue when you have trouble sleeping. These tips can help seniors rest better, but everyone is different. Take some time to think about what really relaxes you. If it's not a sound, maybe it's a scent you can recreate with essential oils or a different texture for your comforter.
Worrying about not sleeping makes it worse, so you might benefit from relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation. When you do not get enough sleep, it affects just about everything you do the next day. You have earned the right to a good night's sleep, so don't settle for less.