Here Are Tips That Will Help You And Your Senior Love One Overcome Insomnia And Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Do you or your senior loved one lie awake night after night? Sleepless hours significantly affect an individual’s wellbeing. Pegasus senior care specialists in Newberry Park and elsewhere offer facts and these tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
You may think of sleep as stopping all activity. That isn’t the case. Although you aren’t aware of it, your brain is busy while you’re sleeping.
The Five Levels Of Sleep
You progress through five levels of sleep. The first two stages are light, during which your body relaxes and begins to slow down. The second two stages are deep sleep, from which it’s difficult to awaken you.
The fifth, and final, stage is REM, or rapid eye movement, sleep. This is when you dream. Your eyes are moving, your breathing can be fast, but your body is temporarily paralyzed.
You cycle from light sleep to REM and back to light sleep four to five times a night. Most people spend more time in REM sleep with each cycle. Time in deep sleep decreases with each cycle and as you age.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
The amount of sleep you need varies, although seven to eight hours a night is adequate for most individuals. As little as five hours is good for some people, while others can’t function on less than ten hours nightly. The ideal number of hours usually doesn’t change as you age.
You or your senior may not always get enough sleep. However, no one can completely stop sleeping and survive. A temporary lack of adequate sleep impairs:
- The functioning of your nervous system
- Your memory and ability to think
- Physical performance
- The ability of your nerve cells to rid themselves of toxins
Sleep-deprived individuals often have poor control of their emotions and social interactions.
How To Prevent Insomnia
Insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Tips for overcoming insomnia and getting a good night’s sleep include:
- Modifying daytime activities: Twenty-four-hour cycles called circadian rhythms control body functions. One of these is the sleep-wake cycle. Like the others, it is influenced by light.
Daylight signals alertness. Darkness means it’s time to sleep. Getting morning sunshine and dimming nighttime light stabilizes the sleep-wake cycle.
Get up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each night. A regular schedule helps keep the cycle stable. Long naps during daylight hours disturb the cycle.
The blue light emitted by television and electronic devices mimics daylight. If you must watch TV within two hours of bedtime, wear glasses that block blue light. You can install apps that block blue light on your electronics.
Avoid eating a huge meal or spicy foods within two hours of bedtime. Some individuals rest better if they consume a light snack before going to bed. Get your daily exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime.
- Establishing nighttime rituals: Staying up until you’re exhausted, then collapsing in bed is not conducive to falling asleep. Bedtime rituals are a way to tell your brain and body to start the transition from awake to asleep.
Rituals are personal, and you may have to experiment to find what works for you. The key is to practice your ritual every night. You should also avoid doing it at other times.
Some individuals like a warm both, while others prefer listening to soothing music. Others meditate, and some read to unwind and relax.
- Creating a comfortable sleep environment: You’ll get a better night’s rest if your bedroom is comfortable and free of distractions. Start with the best mattress, pillow, and bedding that you can afford.
Remove electronic devices and other light sources. Cover windows. Maintain a comfortable temperature, which for most people is 65 – 70 degrees F.
Eliminate outside noises if you can. If you can’t, try wearing earplugs. Running a fan or using a white noise machine can be helpful.
- Improving lifestyle habits: The lifestyle habits that are good for your overall health also help you get a restful night’s sleep. Exercise helps, but do it early in the day. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and sugar all interfere with your ability to go to sleep and stay asleep.
- Treating the causes of insomnia: Most individuals experience insomnia now and then. That’s often due to stress, and stress-reducing practices will solve it. Older adults may be subject to chronic insomnia due to health conditions.
Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome are common causes. Other medical conditions, especially painful ones, and medications can interfere with sleep. When nothing else works, talk with your doctor about insomnia treatment.
Changing the kind, timing, or dosage of medications may help. Your healthcare provider may prescribe prescription sleeping pills. As with any other drug, follow the directions carefully.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our senior care experts in Newberry Park and our other locations know that adequate sleep is essential for good health. Our goal is to provide quality home healthcare that improves the quality of life for you and your loved ones.