It has been found that older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults — seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, many older adults often get less sleep than they need. One reason is that they often have more trouble falling asleep in the first place. A study of adults over 65 found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
Sleep allows our body to rest and to restore its energy levels. Without enough restful sleep we become irritable, inattentive and more prone to accidents. Adequate sleep is essential to good health and quality of life.
Older people often sleep less deeply and wake up more often throughout the night, which may be why they may nap more often during the daytime. Nighttime sleep schedules may change with age too. Many older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning.
Older adults may produce and secrete less melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. They may also be more sensitive to changes in their environment, such as noise, when they are sleeping.
Older adults may also have other medical and psychiatric problems that can affect their nighttime sleep, such as depression.
Here are 10 Natural Remedies to induce sleep and help you stay asleep.
- A host of studies show that as little as 0.1 to 0.3 milligrams of melatonin, a natural supplement, may be enough to help most people fall asleep. Experts suggest that the fast-release melatonin is possibly more effective as a sleep remedy than the slow-release formulas.
- Make your room cool, clean, and quiet. The best conditions to sleep are when you are cooler than room temperature, a little below 70 degrees.
- Sleep in the dark, turn off all lights and keep nightlights at a distance. Try dimming the lights 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Research shows that this is helpful in falling asleep. You may not feel like the light is keeping you up, but it actually prevents the creation of melatonin, the neurochemical essential for sleep.
- Five minutes before bed, turn on light music or white noise. Constant sounds, unlike those coming from a window or snoring partner, assist in getting great sleep. Even more importantly, they make the odd noises in the night, like a barking dog or traffic, seem less loud by comparison, soothing you to sleep. Listen to waves, raindrops, wind noises, or other calm, consistent sounds. You can find them on many white noise and music apps.
- A half-hour before going to bed, take a bath. A warm bath, especially with a little lavender oil, will slow down your body’s activity and make it easier to fall asleep.
- A light snack will do the same thing, creating a sense of drowsiness. Good snacks include bananas, dairy, avocados, lean proteins like poultry or fish, and also nuts. Anything that isn’t sugary or fatty will work best.
- Lavender oil, or lavender essence used in an infuser is a great way to get the drowsy benefits of a bath without actually taking a bath.
- In the afternoon, avoid drinking any caffeine or consuming a lot of alcohol. Both of these chemicals will keep you up and lead to uneven, difficult nights in bed. Switch to decaf after 12:00 noon as caffeine will stay in your system hours after you feel the effects of it. You may think that alcohol makes you drowsy, but it actually leads to restless sleep in the long run.
- Try exercising in the afternoon, which will give you a boost in metabolism and energy in the short term and make it easier to sleep when night approaches.
- Put on socks. Warmed feet are scientifically proven to help your fall asleep quickly.
Getting the proper amount of sleep is part of living a healthy lifestyle. These natural remedies will help most people. Stress, anxiety, or depression can all affect your sleeping patterns. If you’re losing sleep on a regular basis, contact your primary care physician for medical advice and the causes of your insomnia.
Excerpts taken from www.wikihow.com