A good night’s rest. Along with a nutritious diet and regular exercise, plentiful sleep is essential to your health. However, many seniors fail to get the seven to nine hours of rest that the National Institute on Aging recommends. Regardless of age, though, you can enjoy the sleep you deserve. To get better rest, you need to first figure out why you can’t fall or stay asleep.
Are trips to the bathroom keeping you from sleeping through the night? Consider your evening routine. A post-dinner cup of coffee or glass of wine can have a diuretic effect. Even too much water in the hours preceding bedtime can cause disruptive bathroom visits. If drinking habits aren’t to blame, talk to your doctor about your current medications. Many can have the unwanted side effect of extra trips to the bathroom.
It’s no surprise that painful joints could prove a challenge to falling asleep. But you do have options. First, fine-tune your lifestyle habits. Cut out inflammatory foods and maintain your workout schedule, as an antioxidant-rich diet and regular exercise can lessen discomfort. Next, find ways to ease stiff joints, such as soaking in a hydrotherapy tub before bed. Lastly, consult your physician about pain relief aids should your discomfort persist.
No matter if you’re 17 or 70, anxiety can keep you up at night. But stress doesn’t have to rob you of sleep. Do you worry about your health? Money? Family? Call your doctor, financial advisor or friend. Talking with someone about your worries can ease stress, as can getting proper treatment or creating a budget to address your health or money concerns. To enjoy a good night’s rest, take action as soon as possible to remedy the underlying issue.
How have you overcome your bedtime frustrations? Share your tips for a better night’s sleep in Staying Put at Home’s comments section.
A lack of sleep can do far more than make a person feel lethargic and irritable. The Mayo Clinic states that insomnia can contribute to heart, weight and metabolic concerns as well. Yet as frustrating as it is to lay awake each night, an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment can successfully manage many sleeping disorders. However, integral to treating a sleeping disorder is first identifying the primary problem. So if you can’t sleep, consider these common insomnia causes:
Poor Sleeping Conditions
Do you keep the television on when you go to bed? Are the windows open or the lights on when you try to snooze? Then you might be making it harder for your body to fall asleep. Noise, whether it comes from your TV or street traffic, can disrupt your sleep cycles. Light can also prevent the production of melatonin, a hormone that induces slumber. Heat can affect your ability to sleep as well. To create an ideal sleeping environment, eliminate as much noise and light as possible and keep the room temperature below 70 degrees.
Certain activities and beverages can also produce insomnia. The nicotine in cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco can keep you awake at night, as can the caffeine found in soda, coffee and certain teas. Many people rely on a nightcap to relax in the evenings, and though it may initially accomplish this task, alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep at night. The National Sleep Foundation encourages individuals with insomnia to avoid alcoholic drinks in the hours preceding bedtime. If you need to unwind before going to bed, try a warm bath instead.
Existing Medical Problems
No matter how comfortable their sleeping environment or helpful their habits, some people simply can’t sleep. If you fall into this group, it may be because of a current medical condition. Many health issues, especially those common to older individuals, can result in insomnia. If you suffer from heartburn, heart failure, arthritis pain or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), consult a physician about alleviating the symptoms contributing to your sleeping disorder. Keep in mind, though, that some medications may also interfere with your sleep cycles. So before taking any prescription drug, ask about its potential sleeping side effects.
- Sleeping disorders can increase the risk of serious physical health problems.
- Lifestyle habits and home environment may be to blame for insomnia in some cases.
- Insomnia can also result from existing health conditions.