The Importance of a Consistent Sleep Schedule for Older Adults

A Healthy Lifestyle Includes Regular Amounts of Sleep!

Sleep. We all have to do it at some point. Sleeping is essential to a healthy lifestyle. It can be difficult to have a consistent sleep schedule, but it is necessary. A consistent sleep schedule for older adults is a simple way to improve your health and begin a routine. No matter your age getting a healthy amount of sleep can completely alter the way you feel.

We are told eight hours of sleep a night is considered to be a healthy amount of sleep. According to the Irish Examiner, “less than one in five adults get the recommended eight hours of sleep” and 70 percent found their sleep was frequently disturbed (Check out the article). On top of this, older adults have other factors that contribute to lack of sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that makes us tired, seniors show decreased levels, making it more difficult to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Ways to Have a Better Sleep

The two most important aspects of sleep to consider when trying to fall asleep is your circadian rhythm and having a consistent sleep schedule. Our circadian is our internal alarm clock, it tells us when to wake up and when to fall asleep. This works with the idea of having a consistent sleep schedule because you can train your body to wake up and fall asleep at a certain time. Here are some ways to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Enjoy the sunny days

In Ireland, it can be a bit difficult to have a sufficient amount of light espouse. Natural sunlight during the day can keep our circadian rhythm health. With that being said on sunny days it is extremely important to soak up the sun even if it for 15 minutes.

No Caffeine after 5:00 p.m.

Caffeine is excellent for when are feeling tired and lethargic. However, if we drink it late in the day, it can stimulate our nervous system and make falling asleep more difficult. If you have a craving for a coffee or tea later in the day, try decaf.

Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime Naps

There are those days when we are so tired a nap is necessary. Naps can interfere with a consistent sleep schedule for older adults. Short power naps have many benefits but sleeping during the day can confuse your internal clock. If you want to take a nap during the day try and keep it under 30 minutes, anything longer can mess with your sleep quality.

Relax and Clear Your Mind in the Evening

During the day, we are always running around doing errands or we are just busy. It is important at night to relax. Sleeping while stressed is a guaranteed bad night of sleep. Listening to relaxing music, meditation, reading a good book are all ways to help you relax before bed.

Try to Exercise Earlier Rather Than Later in the Day

Exercise is one of the best ways to help improve your sleep quality. It is important to exercise daily but exercising too late can cause sleep problems. This is because when we exercise our adrenaline and endorphins increase.

Sleep just like exercise plays a key role in your overall quality of life and health. It can be challenging to find a sleep routine that works for you, it is ok to try out different tactics. Everyone is different so you may not find your perfect sleep routine on the first try. Happy sleeping.