Mr Sandman: Top tips for a better night's rest
A GOOD night's sleep evades many seniors, but these tips may just make the difference you need to go from taking ages to go to sleep to dropping off with some ease.
- Keep a regular sleep pattern
Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day.
- Aim for seven to nine hours sleep
On average, adults benefit from seven to eight hours sleep each night. Sleeping less than six hours regularly or more than nine or 10, can indicate illnesses.
- Keep technology out of the bedroom
The blue component of the light suppresses melatonin which is the hormone which is needed to regulate and instigate sleep.Avoid too much stimulation from about 8pm and onwards when the melatonin is meant to be naturally rising. Better still, turn it off so your brain can think about sleeping at this time.
- Relax for at least an hour before going to bed
Reading, talking with your partner, listening to quiet music, doing yoga, meditation and stretching are all good ways to relax.
Watching TV across the room is better than a TV that is right up in front of your eyes. And, try to avoid stimulating viewing.
- Be comfortable in bed
Ensure your bedroom has a comfortable temperature, you sleeping on a good mattress and you are feeling safe in your environment.
- Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol just before bed
Avoid consuming stimulants before going to bed. Moderate your caffeine drinks and try not to drink coffee after lunchtime.
Drinking alcohol close to bedtime can be stimulating and consequently fragment your sleep.
Nicotine is also considered a big stimulant for sleep disturbance.
- Limit the amount fluids you consume before bed
It's very individual as to a person's bladder capacity, but as a helpful tip, avoid drinking a large amount of fluids close to bed time, no matter what age.
Calming drinks are not bad for you, but they are not strong agents for anxiety and sleeplessness.
- Don't eat just before going to bed
Try to avoid a large amount of food for up to three hours before going to bed. Eating can wake you up as your stomach works on digesting a meal.
- Enjoy natural light during the day
During the day time, try to get as much natural light as possible, to suppress melatonin which you don't want during the day. You only want it at night to help you get to sleep.
If these tips don't help with your sleep pattern, then see your GP for further assistance.