As people age, they require a bit less sleep than their younger counterparts. That said, they do still require a decent amount of sleep in order to remain healthy. Unfortunately, far too many older adults do not get the sleep they need in order to maintain a strong immune system and maintain good mental and mood balance.
As a caregiver, it is important that you help your clients remain as happy and healthy as possible. This may feel nearly impossible when you are caring for an individual who fails to get adequate sleep every night. This especially true if you can't be around at night to ensure they are sleeping when they should.
If you find yourself in this unfortunate position, there are a few things you can do to encourage the older adult in your life to sleep.
Make the Bedroom for Sleep Only
Help your client rearrange his or her things in such a way that sleep and other restful activities (such as reading) are the only things that happen in the bedroom. Remove televisions, computers, and other distractions from the sleeping space. Additionally, remove clocks which can put off a bright light and cause frustration when a person is having trouble sleeping.
By doing these things, you can help your senior friend associate the bedroom with sleep, causing his or her brain to switch to sleep mode any time they are in their sleeping space.
Stock Up on Books
If an older adult tends to read things on his or her tablet, phone, or computer just before bed, this could be contributing to sleep problems. In order to combat this issue, be sure to visit the library with your client on a regular basis and stay stocked up on quality reading material. This will allow him or her to get in a nightly reading session without staring at a screen.
Remaining active throughout the day can work wonders for those who suffer from insomnia. In fact, most active people are more than happy to sleep when the time comes.
For some seniors this might mean joining a water aerobics class or yoga class, for others it could just mean taking a daily walk. Whatever it is your client wants to do for exercise, help them do it. This will improve their health and quality of life in a number of ways and sleep quality is among them.
Time Naps Well
A person who naps late in the day is not likely to sleep well at night. If the elderly person in your life likes to nap during the day, try to ensure those naps are taken in the morning or early afternoon hours. A nap after 3pm will almost certainly have a negative effect on your client's sleep that night.
Encourage Small Dietary Changes
Making your older adult friend aware of the effects diet may have on his or her sleep could prove to be helpful. For instance, kindly reminding your client that caffeine after 3pm is probably not the best choice if they want to sleep that night might be enough to get them to rethink their choices.
Other dietary choices that may cause lack of sleep include eating spicy foods in the evening, going to bed hungry, eating a large meal just before bed, and taking stimulating medications after 3pm.
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If you would like to learn more, please contact us today.