Tips to improve your sleep as you age

Getting enough good-quality sleep is essential to staying healthy and ageing well. You might discover that you wake up sooner in the night or all through the night as the number of candles on your birthday cake increases. You may also find that you sleep for fewer hours or doze off during the day. But rest assured, there are things you can do to improve your sleep as you age. In this blog, we highlight a few tips that you can follow. 

Why is a good night’s sleep vital as you age?

Sleep is just as important to your physical and emotional health in your senior years as it was when you were younger. We frequently go through typical changes in our sleeping habits as we get older, such as getting tired earlier, waking up earlier, or getting less deep sleep. However, insomnia symptoms such as restless sleep, excessive daytime fatigue, and others are not typical aspects of ageing. A restful night’s sleep strengthens memory and focus, enables your body to repair any cell damage from the previous day, and reenergizes your immune system, all of which work together to keep you healthy. Insufficient sleep in older individuals increases their risk of depression, concentration and memory issues, excessive daytime sleepiness, and overnight falls. Inadequate sleep can also cause major health issues, such as an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and weight issues. 

That’s why it’s so important to prioritise good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene are the habits that help you have a good night’s sleep and can often play a larger role in healthy ageing. 

Top tips to improve your sleep 

1) Keep your sleep schedule consistent: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each morning. This routine helps your body learn when it should be sleeping so it can relax and fall asleep faster at night. 

2) Have a nighttime routine: Make sure to wind down an hour or so before bedtime. Read a book, turn off the TV, or even start a journal as you soak in a warm bathtub/hot tub.

3) Keep screens out of the bedroom: Limit the use of your smartphone, computer, tablet and TV in the evening. We recommend making the bedroom a technology-free zone. The light from electronics can interfere with melatonin production and make it harder for you to fall asleep at night.

4) Exercise regularly: Regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming provides many benefits, one of which is better quality sleep. You will fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of restorative deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night. However, avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it increases heart rate and makes it hard to get into a deep sleep. 

5) Listen to music: According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, listening to calming music at bedtime improved sleep quality in older adults, and calming music was much better at improving sleep quality than rhythmic music. The researchers found that calming music improved sleep by slowing the heart rate and breathing and lowering blood pressure. This in turn helped to lower levels of stress and anxiety, leading to a better night’s sleep. 

Sleep is just as important to your physical and emotional health when you age as it was when you were younger. If you have issues getting a good night’s sleep, try to practice these tips.