Natural Sleep Remedies for Seniors
Sleep problems affect many older adults and can impact their overall health and wellness. Trouble falling or staying asleep can be caused by medications, stress, depression, age-related changes in sleep patterns, or other health conditions.
No matter what is causing your older loved one’s sleep issues, it’s important to address the problem. Sleep difficulties have been linked to depression, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, and can cause lapses in concentration, memory, and mood. Daytime sleepiness related to insomnia can also increase your older loved one’s risk of falling and other accidents.
In-Home Care Can Help Seniors Struggling with Sleep Problems
Hiring a qualified in-home caregiver is one way for seniors to naturally achieve healthy sleep — especially when you can’t be there yourself. A personal caregiver can get to know your loved one’s habits and preferences and develop a plan to address sleep problems.
Here are several sleep remedies for seniors to achieve a more restful slumber:
- Schedule a medical examination
If your older loved one is having trouble sleeping, call his or her doctor and schedule an appointment to discuss the problem. A thorough medical exam may reveal an underlying, treatable cause such as restless legs syndrome, pain, depression, or anxiety.
If you are unable to attend the appointment, a professional caregiver can arrange transportation or assist during a virtual visit.
- Get regular exercise
Physical activity can improve sleep quality and quantity. A short walk around the block, yoga, gardening, or seated strength training 3-5 times a week can be enough to help seniors wind down at night.
Exercising too close to bedtime, however, can have the opposite effect, because exercise causes increased body temperature and energy-boosting endorphins. Some experts recommend getting regular exercise in the morning to promote optimal sleep.
A qualified in-home caregiver can monitor a senior’s activity level, ensuring he or she gets the right type of exercise at the right time of day.
- Stick to a sleep schedule
Routines can be crucial to the health and well-being of older adults, especially if they are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. A regular sleep schedule can help prevent insomnia. A trained caregiver can make sure your loved one wakes up and goes to sleep at the same time each day.
An in-home caregiver can make sure your loved one avoids excessive daytime napping, which can sabotage nighttime sleep. A caregiver can also encourage your loved one to give up other sleep-stealing habits, such as consuming caffeinated beverages in the afternoon and eating heavy meals in the evening.
- Develop a soothing routine
A predictable, soothing bedtime ritual can go a long way toward helping your senior wind down at night. Whether he or she enjoys a light snack, book on tape, or soothing music, an in-home personal care specialist can make sure they have everything they need to feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed.
A caregiver can also help with bathing, grooming, and other nighttime tasks to ensure a stress-free experience.
- Create a proper sleep environment
An in-home caregiver can ensure the sleep environment is ideal by adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature, drawing the curtains, turning off digital devices, or taking steps to minimize noise and other distractions.
If your loved one wakes in the middle of the night, a qualified personal care assistant can attend to their needs with minimal disruption so they can return to sleep as quickly as possible.
Many family caregivers who are unable to be with their older loved one at bedtime and throughout the night may believe the simplest solution is a sleeping pill. However, medications may raise your senior’s risk of falling and could lead to increased confusion and memory problems. Sleep medications may stay in a senior’s body longer, and some older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug.
A good night’s sleep provides numerous physical and mental health benefits. Natural sleep remedies delivered by a trusted in-home caregiver might be just the thing to help your senior loved one get the rest he or she needs.
Our Visiting Angels care coordinators are available to discuss your loved one’s needs during a free in-home care consultation.