23 August, 2022 | 14 min read

Tips for Older Adults for Getting a Good Night's Sleep

You eat right, exercise regularly, and take care of yourself. You enjoy being active and maintaining your friendships and social engagements. Your move to a senior living community gives you the freedom to take advantage of the activities, transportation, and security they offer. You put a lot of thought into your senior years and making the most of what you want to do and need to age well. You made it happen. 

There’s another essential element to meeting your wellness goals that is often overlooked. 

Are you getting the quality sleep you need? 

Eskaton believes in practicing self-care. Managing stress and getting enough sleep are significant contributors to your mood. 

The benefits of sleep for older adults 

Sleep is often viewed as something “nice to have” and often gets shortchanged. Sleep is critical to you maintaining a healthy, nourished body. 

Everyone, including older adults need sleep for both cognitive and physical health. A good night's sleep every night allows both the body and mind to recharge, replenish energy, and fight disease. Sleep allows you to think more clearly, process thoughts and memories as well as engage in coherent conversation. 

According to the Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep can lead to attention lapses, reduced cognition, delayed reactions and mood shifts. 

Clues you’re not getting the sleep you need 

  • Wake up tired every day 
  • Dread going to bed at night 
  • Feel irritable the next day 
  • Are forgetful or struggle with recall 
  • Feel depressed 
  • Fall more or have increasing accidents 

Why older adults may have trouble sleeping 

Sleep deprivation can result from many factors. However, if lack of sleep continues, talk to your doctor. There might be a medical explanation and they may also be able to provide recommendations to help you get the quality, restful sleep you need.  

See if any of the following sleep disruptions pertain to you. 

  • Feeling sick or in pain 
  • Taking certain medications 
  • Suffering from insomnia – trouble falling asleep or waking up in the night 
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Movement disorders 
  • Alzheimer’s disease 

Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted living

Tips for older adults to get a good night’s sleep 

People may be surprised to learn that an older adult needs the same amount of sleep as all adults, which is usually between seven and nine hours each night. However, what may change with age is your sleep pattern – you may go to sleep earlier and get up earlier. Here are 10 tips to help older adults get a good night’s sleep. 

  1. Keep a regular sleep schedule

    It’s much easy to get your rest when you create and keep to a regular schedule. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends. 
  2. Avoid napping late in the day

    It stands to reason that if you take a nap late in the afternoon or early evening it will likely become more difficult to sleep at night. If you need to rest, try late morning or early afternoon and keep naps as short as possible. 
  3. Develop a bedtime routine

    You may have found this helpful with young children but it’s also quite effective for older adults. Creating a routine cues your mind and body that it is time for sleep. Experiment with what works best for you – taking a warm bath, reading or listening to soothing music. 
  4. Avoid using electronic devices before bedtime

    Not only can you be stimulated by a movie you watch or discoveries made while searching the internet, but the light from these devices have been shown to make sleep more difficult to achieve. 
  5. Make your bedroom comfortable

    Try to create a sanctuary in your bedroom, as much as possible. This can include comfortable bedding, a quiet environment and setting the temperature so it is not too hot or cold.
  6. Use low lighting in the evenings

    Bright lights can interrupt your ability to fall asleep so be mindful of your light levels as evening approaches. Make sure you have enough light for safety but dim other areas, including your bedroom, as you get ready for bed. 
  7. Exercise daily but not too close to bedtime

    The importance of exercise for older adults is well known but avoid working out or doing strenuous activities within three hours of bedtime. You want to spend this time unwinding and relaxing. 
  8. Avoid caffeine or eating a large meal before bed

    Eating a large meal in the evening can interrupt your sleep patterns if your body is busy digesting food. It’s better to eat your large meal earlier in the day whenever possible. Also, avoid caffeine later in the day, which includes coffee, tea and chocolate.
  9. Calm your mind

    Once in bed, reliving a stressful day or revisiting problems can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Instead try to calm or distract your mind. Counting sheep or other tricks can really work. 
  10. Try relaxation techniques

    Relaxing your body can be a great help when preparing for sleep. One suggestion is to imagine your body becoming totally relaxed, starting with your toes, feet, ankles, legs and continue working your way up to the top of your head. 

Source: National Institute on Aging 

Life at Eskaton Communities 

The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years. 

The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents with everything they need for purposeful living. 

We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as: 

  • Private residences 
  • Delicious and nutritious meals 
  • Social opportunities to meet and make new friends 
  • Creative activities and therapies 
  • Fitness centers and exercise classes 
  • Housekeeping services 
  • Transportation services 
  • 24-hour staffing 
  • Pet-friendly 
  • Free Wi-Fi 
  • And much, much more! 

If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org. 

Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted living