Sleep quality is an important foundation to the day – if you don’t sleep well, it can ruin your entire day by feeling tired or irritable. As seniors age, it can get harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
What causes changes in sleep patterns?
Humans require up to 17 hours of sleep per night as infants, and as we age, this levels drop to between seven and nine hours of sleep, with women averaging 30 minutes more per night than men.
Sleep quality is heavily reliant on seasonal changes, room temperature, emotional state, medication and other factors. As humans age, the neurons that regulate a sleep cycle begin to die off, causing seniors even more instability in their sleep cycles. Seniors take longer to fall asleep and often have less quality deep sleep, which can make them tired throughout the day.
Tips on How to Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep is an extensive area of study, so many scientists have a recommended list of changes to make to improve initial sleep quality.
Setting a routine, turning off electronics an hour before bed, cutting caffeine and exercising regularly are all recommended as methods to reduce poor-quality sleep.
If lifestyle changes are only making a small impact on sleep quality, it may be time to look into technological help with your senior.
Fans not only provide cool air, which helps people fall asleep, but they generate white noise, which creates a restful environment and drowns out small sounds that may distract a senior from sleep.
Seniors with sleep apnea or other medical needs may get a CPAP machine, which keeps them breathing evenly throughout the night.
Apps and Trackers
Many wearable fitness trackers have an option for tracking sleep, and this can be a good first step in identifying when your senior is waking up and how severe the problem is. Other sleep apps, like sleepyti.me, help determine when to set an alarm based on average sleep cycles to prevent waking up in the middle of an REM cycle.
Everything is getting smarter, and beds are no exception. From beds that elevate the head to beds that track sleep data, the Internet of Things is expanding to encompass the sleep universe.
White Noise Machines
White noise machines have many different options, so your senior can fall asleep to the soothing sounds of rain or a crackling campfire. Ask your home care provider to walk your senior through setting up a white noise machine.
Blackout Curtains and Cooling Pads
People sleep best in a dark, cool room. Seniors may find it difficult to sleep in the summer, when rooms are warmer and the sky stays light late into the night. Installing blackout curtains and cooling gel pads can help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
Seniors need quality sleep to continue enjoying their independence. A home care providers can help seniors set up different sleep aids. As part of their services, home care providers can ask your senior how well they are sleeping and bring to the caregiver’s attention any difficulties or changes.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering home care in Spokane, WA please contact the caring staff at Angel Senior Care today at (509) 326-4357.