How to Help Your Senior Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Hilary and Greg Eldridge
Sleep is so important for your senior parent. Getting the proper amount of sleep each night can not only allow the body to repair cell damage that occurred during the day, but it can improve concentration, memory, refresh the immune system, and even help prevent disease.
Seniors who don’t get good sleep are also more likely to suffer from things like excessive daytime sleepiness, memory and attention problems, and even depression and an increased risk of nighttime falls. If all that isn’t reason enough to put your senior’s sleep as a priority, insufficient sleep an also be a factor that leads to serious health issues such as a higher risk of diabetes, weight issues, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer in women.
This is why it is so important to monitor your senior’s sleep habits and patterns and to help them figure out why they may be having issues related to the amount of sleep they are able to get.
Here are a few ways that you can help your senior parent or loved one receiving elder care at home to get better sleep:
- Increase sunlight- Bright light from the sun helps to regulate a person’s sleep-wake cycles as well as regulates melatonin in the body. Encourage your senior to get at least two hours of sunlight each day, and have them or their caregivers open the shades or curtains to allow natural light into their home.
- Meditate- Help your senior develop a meditation practice before bedtime to help them wind down and get in a more sleepy state of mind. Have them sit as still as possible in a darkened room in a position that is comfortable for them. Experiment with soft music or have them try and clear their mind as best they can. If they have trouble, find a guided meditation tape to help them.
- Avoid naps- Limiting the amount of sleep your senior gets during the daytime hours should help them be better able to fall asleep at night.
- Avoid caffeine- If your senior consumes caffeine later in the day or evening and has difficulty falling asleep, try cutting back the amount and also limiting it to the early morning hours to see if that helps.
- Get physical- Encouraging your senior parent or loved one to participate in regular physical activity each day can help them to fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and even to wake feeling refreshed and more energetic.
- Talk to their doctor- If your senior cannot seem to fall asleep easily or has issues with staying asleep, talk to their doctor to see if they have any underlying issues that may be contributing to this, or even if any of their medications might be making it worse.
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