Effective Tips To Sleep Better At Night
Many people experience troubles sleeping at night as they get older. But in most cases, these issues aren’t a sign of health problems – they are just a normal part of aging process. Older people find themselves waking up in the middle of the night more often than they used to, but this is usually caused by the need to go to the bathroom or by uncomfortable sleeping position. Fortunately, the time it takes for your body to fall asleep doesn’t increase too much with age.
Another change that normally occurs when you age is getting fewer hours of sleep in general; also, your rapid eye movement phase of sleep becomes shorter (in this phase you see dreams). The changes affect different people to a different degree.
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com
Unhealthy disruption of sleep as you age isn’t inevitable. There are some steps you can take to prevent unwanted changes and keep sleeping soundly:
- certain medications may have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. Talk to your doctor about this side effect; he or she may recommend a substitute;
- don’t drink fluids for at least two hours before bedtime, so your full bladder won’t wake you up;
- choose proper nightwear to get your best night's sleep. Pick comfortable pajamas or nighties which can keep you warm and let your body breathe at the same time. Consider nightclothes made from cotton, silk, flannel, or bamboo - they are soft, breathable, and don't irritate skin;
- most of us don’t recognize the importance of good matress and pillows. Ideally, they should reduce the pressure points on your body and allow proper blood circulation. It is better to purchase a high-quality matress and comfy pillows to have a good sleep. However, we recommend you to consult your doctor before buying these items - they may help you pick a matress which is right for you;
- what is between your matress and you also matters. Your bedding may also get in the way of your sleep, so it's better to make sure you have the right sheets and pillow cases. Change your synthetic sheets for natural ones, and your hot flashes and night-sweats may disappear. It is important to wash new bedding before you use it, and toss it in the laundry every 10 days. It is also recommended to buy new bedding every 18 to 24 months;
- if pain keeps waking you up, your doctor may recommend non-prescription painkillers. Even if they don’t take the pain away completely, it will at least stop bothering you that much;
- sleep in the dark. Artificial light from TVs, mobile phones, and other electronic devices keeps your brain awake. Never keep a nightlight on in your bedroom while you sleep - it may disturb natural production of melatonin (a hormone which promotes sleep). If you need light for your night bathroom trips, it is better to buy a nightlight for your bathroom;
- do you have a favorite sleeping position? Then make sure it is a safe one! Avoid sleeping on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest and don't sleep on your stomach. It is recommended to maintain the curve in your lower back while you sleep. If it doesn't feel comfortable for you, you may put a special pillow under your knees;
- it’s a common knowledge that caffeine prevents you from falling asleep. Don’t consume foods or drinks that contain caffeine for at least 8 hours before sleep;
- alcohol isn’t so good for sleep, too. It may be easier to fall asleep after drinking it, but it’s quite probable you’ll wake up as soon as its effect wears off;
- make naps shorter – 10-20 minutes is OK. But if sleeping during daytime affects your ability to fall asleep at night, it’s better to completely stop napping;
- if you can’t fall asleep, taking 1 to 2 mg of melatonin two hours before going to bed may help (look for the sustained-release tablets).
Ruslan Guzov / Shutterstock.com
Eight hours of sleep is the normal average amount you should get every night. If the recommendations mentioned above didn’t help, consult your doctor.
You may also try taking the following steps:
- try not drinking anything (alcohol included) two hours before sleep so you won’t wake up too often to go to the bathroom;
- take short naps (10-20 minutes) during daytime if they don’t disrupt your nighttime sleep to see if you wake up better rested in the morning;
- to relieve pain in your joints and muscles, try stretching for a couple of minutes in the morning and at night before sleep.
Improve your sleep with these tips and have good nights!
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not treat yourself, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.