Six tips for a better night’s sleep

Older woman who looks relaxed and comfortable in her armchair.

Six tips for a better night’s sleep

When was the last time you had a good night sleep? Sleep problems can affect everyone at any age however research has shown that around 50 percent of older adults report difficulty sleeping.

As we get older, our body clock changes, which can cause difficulties in getting good-quality sleep. Some sleep disorders, such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnoea, are more common in older people, but with proper diagnosis and appropriate care, these issues can be treated and even prevented.­­

Poor sleep over a long period of time can have a major impact on our mental wellbeing and day to day lives which is why it’s essential to improve the quality of our sleep. This Sleep Awareness Week, we asked Lauretta Stace, Healthy Ageing General Manager for Uniting, to share some tips to help us all sleep better.

1. Establish a wind-down routine before bedtime

Allow yourself at least an hour to relax and wind down before bedtime. If you have things to do the next day, keep a notepad by your bedside and write the tasks down before turning off the lights. This will help your brain to ‘switch-off’. If you need help to relax, consider a warm bath, meditation or gentle background music.

2. Create a sleep sanctuary

  • Use dim lighting in the bedroom and turn off all lights before you go to sleep.
  • Keep noise to a minimum.
  • Avoid computer, mobile phone and TV in the bedroom.
  • Settle the pets and kids into their own beds.

 

3. Get the light just right

The part of your brain that controls sleep/wake time is regulated by light and darkness, so make sure that you get the light right in your bedroom and avoid stimulation from lighted screens (eg laptops, iPads, smart phones).

4. Consistency is key

Get your body into a routine habit of sleeping and waking up at the same times each night and day, even on weekends.

5. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine and excessive alcohol before bedtime

Eating a big meal and drinking alcohol may make you feel drowsy at the time, but these can interrupt your sleep and reduce the amount of deep and restful sleep that you need to function well. Drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea and cocoa can keep you awake so should be avoided just before bedtime.

6. Technology – positives and negatives

While we want to avoid the brain stimulus from some technological devices, using a wearable technology device to monitor your sleep can help you to understand your sleep patterns and make adjustments to your habits or environment so that you allow the body to get more deep and restful sleep each night.

Get in touch

To find out more about Uniting or talk to us about the healthy ageing, lifestyle or care option that’s right for you, call us on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org.

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