Your aging loved one may have talked to you or his home care assistance team about his inability to get a good night’s sleep. Or perhaps you’ve noticed him getting up often in the night or struggling to fall asleep. Sleep patterns tend to change as a person ages. It’s not uncommon to either struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sometimes both can be a problem.
Once an older person falls asleep, there are other factors that affect his night’s sleep. Age often causes a person to sleep less, and then less of that time is spent in deep, dreamless sleep. Elderly people often wake 3-4 times a night, whether it’s to use the bathroom, because of aches and pains, or anxiety. Because older people sleep more lightly, they may feel more tired throughout the day.
A consistent lack of good sleep can cause daily confusion, depression, and other health issues. Your loved one may find he’s more short-tempered with the caregivers in his life, or he won’t work with his home care assistance provider to do the exercises he should.
While sleep medications can sometimes help, they aren’t usually recommended for the long term. So finding some homeopathic ways to help your loved one get the sleep he needs is crucial to good health. Here are 7 tips he can try.
- Stop taking naps. If your parent is feeling sleep deprived, he may want a nap. However, too much napping might be what’s making him struggle to fall asleep each night. It creates a pattern that’s hard to break. If there is a specific time of the day when your parent generally feels he’d like a nap (such as a few hours after lunch), schedule a walk with his home care assistance provider to prevent him from falling asleep on the couch.
- Don’t use the bed for daily activities. If your parent likes to watch TV, he should do that from another area of the home. His brain needs to associate the bed with sleeping only.
- Avoid stimulants before bedtime. If your loved one is an avid coffee drinker, switching to decaf and staying away from any caffeinated drinks at least 4 hours before bed might help him sleep.
- Exercise, but not at bedtime. Regular exercise will help your parent sleep better at night, but encourage him to do it during the day, not the evening.
- Drink some milk. It’s true, a glass of milk before bed can help a person sleep. Milk contains a natural, sedative-like amino acid.
- Avoid too much stimulation before bedtime, especially violent shows or video games. Watching or reading something calm is more likely to help your parent fall asleep better.
- Create a bedtime routine. Going to bed at the same time each night, and performing the same rituals, alerts a person’s body that it’s time to sleep. So activities like washing the face, brushing his teeth, performing meditation/prayers, and reading before actually tucking in for the evening help the body relax and sleep.
With some consistent intentional steps, your loved one should be sleeping better soon.