Sleep patterns tend to change as we age. Most people find that aging makes falling asleep a little difficult. At night they wake up more often and early in the morning. Sleep is just as vital for your emotional and physical wellbeing as it was when you were younger.
A good night’s sleep helps improve the attention and memory development, stimulates the body to restore the cell damage that happened during the day, and refreshes the immune system, which in turn helps prevent disease. Older adults who don’t sleep well are more likely to experience fatigue, memory and attention issues, prolonged daytime sleepiness, and more overnight dropping. Inadequate sleep can also lead to serious health problems in women, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight problems and breast cancer.
Here are a few tips to help you sleep:
- Consuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption. However, certain meals and snacks a few hours before bed may help.
- Avoid caffeine(found in coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate) for at least 3 or 4 hours before bed.
- DO NOT take naps during the day.
- Exercise (moderately) in the afternoon.
- Avoid watching violent TV shows or movies before sleep. Practice relaxation techniques at bedtime.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time each morning.
- Avoid tobacco products, especially before sleep.
- Ask your provider if any of the medicines you take may affect your sleep.
- Relaxation techniques may help you fall asleep before bed, including hot baths and meditation.
There are many common conditions that can cause poor sleep, including sleep apnea. See a doctor if poor sleep is a consistent problem in your life. If your own sleep problems treatment efforts are unsuccessful, visit the doctor. Write down when using alcohol, caffeine and nicotine to keep track of your medications, diet, changes in lifestyle, and recent pressures. Your doctor may then refer you to a sleep specialist or cognitive behavioral therapist for further treatment, particularly if your mood and health are heavily impacted by insomnia.