Recently someone who is a senior lifestyle blogger whose mission is to help aging Americans stay healthy and active post-retirement reached out to us to share some beneficial information about sleep with you.
We have a lot of grandmas and great-aunts who buy our books and share them with their families. Any information we can share to help our families we gladly pass along. So grab your pillow, a soft blanket, and a nice warm cup of tea while you read Karen Weeks article on sleep.
Tips to Help Older Adults Get A Good Night’s Sleep
No matter how much we fight it, the march of time goes on. Along with hormonal changes, tissue loss and slower reflexes, seniors also experience various sleep disturbances that can have detrimental side effects.
Sleep problems may be a side effect of another illness or health issue. For instance, many seniors with incontinence issues find themselves having to get up throughout the night to use the bathroom. Some people develop insomnia in their later years, and they have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Other issues include sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorders and RLS.
Sleep issues can have an adverse effect on a senior’s health. It’s so much more than feeling tired and seeing dark circles under your eyes. Lack of sleep can make a person gain weight, experience memory loss and feel depressed, and it can cause brain damage. Sleep deprivation has even been linked to Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disorder most common in seniors.
Seniors can use Medicare to pay for tests, items and services that cover complex sleeping disorders, but the following everyday tips can also help seniors have better, more restful sleep so they can live happier and healthier lives.
Eat Sleep-Friendly Foods
If you are what you eat, you want to be sleepy in the evenings. Certain foods contain nutrients that help the body wind down and promote restful sleep. For instance, cereals, rice and other carbs with a high glycemic index cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels, followed by a drowsy crash that helps lull the body to sleep.
Some fruits and vegetables also contain certain chemicals that encourage sleepiness. Lettuce, for instance, contains lactucarium, which acts as a sedative. Cherries are a rich source of melatonin, which helps people fall asleep faster. And walnuts are chock full of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that is a building block for serotonin and melatonin. Doesn’t a big salad for dinner featuring fresh lettuce, sliced cherries and chopped walnuts with your favorite dressing sound better than taking a nasty sleeping pill?
Turn off the TV
Seniors watch more television than the generations before them. Unfortunately, staring at the tube too long can make it more difficult to get quality sleep. It messes with the brain’s melatonin levels and keeps neurons firing when you are trying to wind down. Watching things that cause stress -- for instance news programs -- can also cause a spike cortisol, the stress hormone that is responsible for our feelings of fight or flight. Instead of binge watching TV before bed, spend the time before you go to sleep reading a book, taking a bath, or putting time in with your favorite hobby.
Change Your Days
As it turns out, the secret to a restful night has a lot to do with what you do during the day. Inactivity is a huge contributor to insomnia. An active senior who exercises regularly is tired enough to get to sleep at night. Start a new exercise regimen and commit to trying and learning new things in your senior years. Next to inactivity, stress is the next biggest contributor to sleep deprivation. Cut back on the stress you feel in your day-to-day life. There’s no use spending your golden years feeling anxious and tired.
As we age, our bodies change. For many seniors, sleep issues accompany those changes. Whether it is a side effect of another issue or a new problem all its own, sleep deprivation can have adverse effects on a senior’s health. Enable a restful night’s sleep with a dinner chock full of sleep-inducing foods like cherries, lettuce, walnuts, and carbs with a high glycemic index. Stop watching television at night and turn to activities that help you wind down. Finally, the secret to sleeping well is what you do during the day. Be active, exercise, and cut down on stress to improve your sleep.
To find out more go to: ElderWellness.net
#sleep #nightnight #rest #aging #important #healthy #elderwellness #angels #families #whereisyourangel