As people get older, sleep patterns change. One study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago analyzed the sleep patterns of a group of male subjects aged 16 to 83 and found that, on average, the total time people slept at night went down by 27 minutes with each decade of age. This is a natural part of aging. As people get older, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or “SCN,” the part of the brain that regulates the internal clock, begins to deteriorate. Many seniors struggle to get the hours of sleep that the body needs to stay healthy and the mind needs to stay alert. These three tips can help people maintain or regain their sleep patterns as they age.
Stick to a Routine
Most people have some sort of routine that prepares them for bed, whether it’s showering, brushing their teeth, or bedtime reading. Keeping not only the steps of the routine but the time of it can condition the body to feel tired and ready for sleep at a certain time each evening. Some things should not be part of the evening routine, like watching TV in bed or drinking liquids (especially alcohol) close to sleep time. Instead of a drink to calm down at the end of the day, seniors should try some sort of meditation or mindfulness for five to ten minutes.
Maintain the Right Sleep Environment
Two of the biggest sleep detractors are light and sound. Natural light is desirable in the bedroom during the day, but too much artificial light at night will prevent sleep. Blackout curtains are a good option to keep a room dark in the evening and block out streetlights, car headlights, and other sources of artificial light. Persistent noise can also be a problem. For those who find earplugs intrusive or uncomfortable, white noise machines may be a good option to drown out exterior noise with benign and even soothing sounds that fade into the background.
Monitor the Effect of Medications
One factor that can be detrimental to sleep in seniors particularly is the effect of medications. Many of the common medications that senior citizens take, like diuretics to reduce high blood pressure, have the adverse side effect of keeping people awake. While these medicines serve important and even essential functions, it may be possible to alter the dosage or ingestion time to help with sleep if a doctor approves of the change.
At any age, having the right mattress is the key to a good night’s sleep. At Buis Mattress, we handcraft all of our mattresses in Holland, MI. We use the highest quality materials to produce a wide range of products designed to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Take care of your mental and physical wellbeing with deep sleep on a Buis Mattress. Check out our unique products at our showroom or on our website, or contact us at 616-396-6257 for further information.