8 tips for older adults to improve sleep

Old man sleeping

“O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frightened thee. That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, and steep my senses in forgetfulness?” – William Shakespeare

Sleep really is nature’s soft nurse. We now understand that it is an important function of the body and not a passive state of nothingness. It is during our restful hours of sleep that our body actively restores itself. Sleep is especially important for elderly as it also helps improve your levels of concentration and memory. Sleep also allows the repair of cell damage and positively refreshes your immune system to help prevent diseases. Therefore sleep is essential for our overall health and wellbeing.

8 Tips to improve sleep

1) No artificial lights – Our body responds to light and artificial light can suppress the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

  • Use low wattage bulbs at bedtime or to keep on around the house.
  • Turn off TV/Computer/Mobile/Tablet/backlit eReader (all screens) 1 to 1.5 hours before going to bed.

2) Environment – The surrounding atmosphere can help induce sleep or lead to sleeplessness.

  • Keep your bedroom quiet as we become even more sensitive to sound as we age. Make sure that you are not disturbed by snoring. You can use ear plugs, white noise or even separate bedrooms.
  • Make sure there is no disturbing light entering the room. You can use an eye mask to block out light as well.
  • Make sure the temperature is comfortable. It is easier to fall asleep in cooler temperatures.
  • Make sure to keep the bedroom clock out of sight. Looking at the time can be a distraction that can take away sleep.

3) Associations – If we associate something with sleep, it will induce sleep.

  • Use your bedroom, especially your bed, only for sleep.
  • Develop soothing bedtime rituals that you can associate with sleep for example taking a bath, listening to relaxing music, meditating or practicing relation techniques.

4) Fix bedtime and wake up time – It is important to have a routine, especially when it comes to bed time.

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
  • If you start feeling sleepy earlier, start going to bed earlier,  just make sure to keep the timing consistent.

5) Napping Right – Naps can help you be more alert and get extra energy to get through the day.

  • Even 5 minute naps can help you feel refreshed and improve your alertness and memory.
  • Limit your naps to 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Longer naps can actually make you feel more tired.
  • Take earlier naps as napping later in the day will interfere with you night time sleep.

6) Diet – Here are some tips for your diet:

  • Avoid having anything with caffeine (coffees, teas, soft drinks) after 4 – 5 PM.
  • Don’t use alcohol to sleep as it will give you broken, poor quality of sleep.
  • Avoid big meals or spicy meals near bedtime. You can have a light snack before going to bed if you are hungry such as yogurt or milk.
  • Avoid liquid intake for 1.5 hours before sleep to prevent bathroom visits.

7) Exercise – Aerobic exercise is a well-researched method to help induce good quality sleep.

  • Try any form of aerobic exercise that suits you. It could be walking, running, dancing, swimming or any sport.
  • Do it earlier in the day as exercising late in the evening can lead to arousal and disturb night sleep.

8) De-Stress – We have all had nights when we couldn’t sleep because we were stressed about an important meeting, an event, or an early flight. Even when we worry about not falling asleep, it leads to arousal of our body which interferes with our sleep. De-stress with:

  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization
  • Share with close friends and family members
  • Reading
  • Make a to-do list of tasks ahead
  • Write your thoughts in a diary
  • Aim to relax yourself without stressing about falling asleep, or about how many hours of sleep you must get


We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation. All our senior care specialists are psychologists or gerontologists.

Here are some of our services –

General Wellbeing:

With our General Well Being

Services we aim to raise the quality of life of seniors, specially those who may have limited mobility and social interaction due to various constraints. Our interactive programme keeps them active and engaged through physical, mental and social activities, all in the comfort of their home.

More – http://samvednacare.com/general-wellbeing

Great Times Club, which is a part of the Samvedna Senior Care Foundation, is our social and recreational club in Sector 57, Gurgaon, for members 55 years and above.Its a place where members come to get fit, meet like minded people and share their life experiences and give back to the community.

Activities at the club include fitness exercises, group meditation, mind stimulation, tambola, dancing, book reviews, movies, community outreach, and talks on health management. The club has a library, computer room, visits by physiotherapists and doctors, access to board games and cards, a fully functional pantry with healthy and affordable snacks and tea and coffee on the house.

There are special discounts for group memberships. The club is open Monday-Friday, 11am to 2pm.There are special classes for yoga, smart phones, computers, spoken english, dance, music and painting. Call Great Times Club at 9818421446, 0124-4229659.

Know more here – Great Times Club

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