The old we get, the poorer the quality of sleep is reported but the good news is there are ways to help!
The good news is tossing and turning is nothing to be worried about even though it can be annoying. One of the most common changes in sleep pattern as we age is frequency of waking. This is usually due to discomfort of some sort, needing to got to the toilet or move into a different position.
Luckily, people over the age of 60 are generally able to fall back to sleep as easily as their younger counterparts.
Other normal age related changes include getting less sleep overall and spending less time in the rapid eye movement (REM) cycle — the dream phase of sleep. These changes can vary quite a bit between individuals, and in general they affect men more than women.
Getting older doesn’t mean tossing and turning in bed for the foreseeable future. While you may not be able to change your natural sleep cycle, you can try these simple tips to improve the quality of your sleep and limit the disrupting factors.
Go Boldly and try these tips tonight:
- Get Active! Get an extra 1000 steps in during a walk or try some new exercise – getting your body physically tired will mean better sleep.
- Avoid alcohol near bedtime — alcohol may help you fall asleep, but once it wears off, it makes you more likely to wake up in the night.
- NO SCREENS IN BED! Blue light emitted by the television, computer screen and mobile devices. This light disrupts your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
- Limit caffeine intake, particularly in the eight hours before bedtime.
- Limit daytime napping to 20-60 minutes. If you find that daytime naps make you less sleepy at bedtime, avoid napping altogether.
- Stop drinking fluids within two hours of bedtime to minimise trips to the bathroom.
- If pain keeps you awake at night, talk to your doctor to see if taking pain medication before bed may help. While this may not stop you from waking up, you may have an easier time falling back to sleep.
- Ease aches and pains that could disrupt your sleep by stretching for a few minutes each morning and at night. Being stronger and more active in the day can make for better quality sleep. (LINK TO OUR EX PROGS)
It’s important to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you experience poor quality sleep despite taking these steps, or you are tired or sleepy on most days, talk to your doctor.