Getting a good night’s rest is essential for your health no matter your age. Changing to sleeping patterns are a normal part of the aging process. Physicians often use a person’s sleeping patterns as a gauge of how their health is doing. Not sleeping well can often be a sign of illness or depression. Additionally, daytime and nighttime drowsiness increases the chance of falls and related injuries. There are so many reasons to improve your sleeping abilities.
Here are some general tips for improving your sleep that can apply to any age.
Noise keeping you up/waking you? Does someone in your house snore? Maybe there are little ones up at odd hours or a noisy heater that kicks on at 3 AM. Sleeping with earplugs can greatly improve your sleeping. A white-noise machine or switching rooms can also help to eliminate those noises that are disrupting your sleep. You can even download a white-noise app for your phone at a much lower cost than a white-noise machine.
Lights On/Lights Off During the day, exposing yourself to sunlight helps to regulate your melatonin levels. At night, artificial lights can lower your melatonin levels and prevent you from feeling sleepy. Getting an appropriate amount of sunlight during the day and using low-wattage bulbs at night can help to balance that melatonin and improve your natural sleep cycle. Limiting “screen time” before bed can also help with this. Additionally, using an eye mask or room darkening curtains can help to keep your bedtime surroundings dark and keep you from stirring in the middle of your REM cycle.
Create a routine and stick with it. Our bodies work on circadian rhythms. When we throw off that rhythm, we have a harder time sleeping. Once you pick a bedtime, try to get to bed at that that time every night – and make sure you’re waking up at the same time in the mornings too. Helping to regulate your body’s clock can greatly improve your sleep. Make relaxing before your bed time a part of this routine. Take time to wind down, avoid phones and television, and let yourself let go of your stresses from the day.