elderly woman laying awake in bed with her husband sleeping next to her
20 January 2016

Senior Care Tips: How to Help Your Loved One Sleep Better

How to Help Someone in Senior Care Sleep Better

elderly woman laying awake in bed with her husband sleeping next to herIs your loved one having trouble concentrating during the day? Are they irritable or sleeping in the middle of the day? Do they regularly struggle with staying awake? If so, they’re not alone. Older adults frequently do not get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, due to insomnia or other sleeping issues.

Other contributing factors of sleep issues include anxiety about aging, chronic pain, side effects of certain medications, frequent urination, fear of being at home alone, and more. Additionally, how your loved one spends their days could have a major effect on their sleep quality. With your help and/or the help of an in-home care provider, your loved one could have a much easier time sleeping.

Here are eight tips you can try to help your loved one sleep better each night.

1. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

Do you tend to wake up naturally a few minutes before your alarm goes off? That happens because your body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) is regulated and in sync. If you’re naturally waking up around the same time every morning, it means that your body is doing what it should. You can help your loved one train their mind and body to stay in sync by helping them go to sleep and get up at the same time each day.

2. Establish a regular bedtime routine.

Whether you’re a newborn or an aging adult, establishing a regular bedtime routine can greatly improve your quality of sleep. Each night, try to get your loved one to follow the same routine to get their mind and body ready to sleep. In addition to getting changed into their pajamas and brushing their teeth, this routine should include relaxing activities like taking a bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music.

3. Increase your vitamin D intake.

If you’re not getting enough sun during the day, you’re missing out on vitamin D and preventing your body from following a circadian rhythm properly. Try to help your loved one get at least 30-60 minutes per day of sunlight each day. By doing so, their body will be able to realize when it’s daytime and adjust accordingly when the sun goes down.

4. Exercise on a regular basis and at the right time of day.

Regularly exercising can do wonders for one’s mental and physical health—including promoting better sleep. Try to help your loved one get around 20 minutes of physical activity per day—finishing at least 3 hours before bedtime—for better sleep each night.   

5. Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon.

Even after you think the effects have worn off, the caffeine may still be present in your body, preventing you from sleeping. Make sure your loved one avoids coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate in the late afternoon and evening to help them sleep better.

6. Minimize drinking liquids before bedtime.

So many seniors have trouble sleeping through the night because they have to frequently use the restroom. By limiting their beverages during the evening, they can minimize trips to the bathroom at night.

7. Make the bedroom as comfortable as possible.

Make sure that your loved one has a comfortable and supportive mattress, a soft and supportive pillow, enough blankets, and the right temperature and lighting to promote better sleep.

8. Consider 24-hour home care if your loved one lives alone.

Some seniors have trouble sleeping at night because they don’t feel comfortable being home alone. With the help of 24-hour home care, they can get the peace of mind they need to sleep well at night.

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