No matter what your age, here’s how to get a good night’s rest
Sleep hygiene is just as important for mature adults as it is for younger people and children who are just learning healthy bedtime behavior. Because older individuals are sensitive to light, sound and temperature during sleep, establishing an environment that promotes sleep is especially important. Here are some recommendations for good sleep hygiene:
- Maintain regular wake times
- Go to sleep only when you are drowsy
- Use your bedroom only for sleep and intimate relations
- Avoid excessive daytime naps. If you nap, do so for no longer than one hour and not so late in the day that it interferes with your ability to fall asleep at night
- Stay active during the day
- Avoid large meals before bed
- Avoid nicotine and caffeine within six hours of bedtime
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Develop a bedtime ritual
Slowing down when you get older is natural, but stopping activity completely compounds sleep and other medical problems. Of course, active is a relative term. For some individuals, a quick walk around the block once a day is enough to tire their body and promote sleep at night. For others, activity is gardening, visiting a friend or family member, or going to the store. Activity also includes mental pursuits: reading, writing a letter, knitting or completing a crossword puzzle. For less mobile people, active may translate to simply staying awake rather than sleeping through one television program after the next.
Depending on how lively your mental and physical condition allows you to be, some level of activity is essential for maintaining overall health—and for sleeping soundly at night.
Excerpted with permission from The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Sleep Disorders by Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center within Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute. Published by Kaplan Publishing, © 2010 Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO.
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