Tossing, turning, adding blankets, or removing them…the time seems to slow to an aching pace, and all you pray for is going to sleep. At AmeriBest senior care Harrisburg, PA, we’ve encountered many individuals, particularly seniors, who struggle with sleep. Small losses here and there are normal. But when it becomes nightly, the lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and depression.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
In recent years you may have heard the term “sleep hygiene.” Basically, sleep hygiene is a matter of creating healthy habits that help you get better sleep. Both your environment and pre-bed routine contribute to sleeping deeply. When we say “routine,” not all suggestions here work for everyone, so you want to craft a sustainable pattern that, with time, becomes natural.
Over 70 million Americans exhibit sleep disorders every year. Between 30 and 50% of the adult population have ongoing insomnia problems. Chronic insomnia is defined as having sleep interruptions or difficulties three times a week for more than three months. Stress is the number one contributor to sleep problems, along with pain, depression, diseases, and medications, all common to the aging population.
How to Get Started
Sleep hygiene aims to create a pre-bed routine and harness habits that may contribute to getting to sleep and staying asleep. The aides at Ameribest, Harrisburg, PA, can help individuals stick to their routines using simple reminders.
For example, they can remind a person of all the steps before going to bed. Dress, brush your teeth, and take a half hour to wind down using gentle lighting and relaxing music. Find the things that really settle your mind and spirit.
First things first, it’s time to set a sleep schedule. Try to wake up at the same time daily, creating a bio-rhythm for consistency. Do not put off sleep unless it’s absolutely necessary. It may take a little time to adjust, but that’s to be expected.
Cat Naps & Electronics
Avoid napping. You haven’t slept well, so it’s not surprising you want a nap. However, the more you nap, the more it impacts your night’s sleep. Limit naps to early afternoon. Also, avoid all electronics (cell phones, tablets, etc.). Electronics stimulate the mind, which is the opposite of what you want. Instead, try relaxation methods like deep breathing and meditation.
Tip: Don’t just lie there awake
When you spend hours in bed, unable to sleep, the connection between you and your bedroom becomes contrary. You want to look forward to bed. So if you’re still awake after a half hour, get up for a bit. Stretch, perhaps read a book, and then try again. Still, avoid electronics, though.
Other Helpmates for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
Get as much natural light as possible. Sunlight creates a rhythm in your body that can decrease sleep problems. Don’t drink caffeine in the evening because it’s a stimulant. Late-night meals aren’t great, either. Digestion can disrupt sleep.
Senior Care Harrisburg
If you are caring for a loved one, it can be difficult to help them achieve solid sleep habits. However, if you have a professional aide like those from AmeriBest Harrisburg, PA, they can step in with guidance during their shift. Make it a team effort!