6 Ways to Stave Off Insomnia in Older Adults

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Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of a senior’s wellbeing. However, many adults often don’t get the sleep they need due to the changes their bodies and minds go through as they age. Problems like insomnia and a general lack of sleep can lead to several issues, including depression, increased risk for car accidents, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer. If your elderly loved one is having difficulty getting sleep at night, the following tips may help.

1. Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment

Your loved one’s bed should be the most comfortable place in the house. If the bed isn’t comfortable, it could lead to poor sleeping issues. Make sure your loved one has a comfortable mattress. If he or she has been sleeping on the same one for decades, it’s time to upgrade. Comfortable pillows, sheets, and blankets are also a must. The bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool, but not so cold that it’s uncomfortable. 

Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Des Moines home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

2. Engage in Physical Activities

Sometimes insomnia is the result of a sedentary lifestyle. Seniors who don’t move much during the day often aren’t as tired as their counterparts. Your loved one should add some activities like walking, swimming, biking, and dancing to his or her daily routine. Taking up active hobbies like golf, tennis, gardening, or hiking can also help. 

Helping a senior loved one engage in physical activities can be challenging for family caregivers. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Des Moines, IA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

3. Avoid Naps

Afternoon naps can be tempting during the day, but they can also keep your loved one up late at night because he or she is getting too much sleep. Avoiding naps may take some effort on your loved one’s part, but there are some ways you can encourage him or her to skip them. If your loved one sleeps at a certain time each day, encourage him or her to do something else with you instead. If your loved one naps after eating a heavy lunch each day, try opting for lighter meals. Once your loved one develops the habit of not napping, sleep should come a little easier at night.

4. Limit the Use of Stimulants

Turn off all screens about an hour before bedtime, as the artificial light could affect your loved one’s ability to fall asleep. Encourage your loved one to avoid alcoholic beverages or drinks with caffeine. Drinking too much of any kind of beverage before bed may lead to excessive bathroom trips during the night, which could keep your loved one awake.

5. Relax Before Bedtime

If your loved one seems stressed at bedtime, encourage him or her to relax, which may be as simple as reading for an hour or taking a warm bath. Your loved one may enjoy listening to music or using essential oils with calming scents like lavender.

6. Create a Regular Routine

The answer to your loved one’s problems with insomnia could simply come down to a lack of regular routine. Maybe one night your loved one stays up past midnight, while the next night he or she goes to bed at 9pm. Maintaining a regular schedule can make sleeping easier.

Lack of sleep can damage the brain and cause cognitive decline. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Des Moines, IA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Call us at (515) 264-2438 to schedule a free in-home consultation today.

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