Today, GrandCare welcomes guest blogger and elder advocate Richard Wright. Thanks for sharing these tips with us, Richard.
For seniors, getting more sleep might just help reduce chronic pain associated with some ailments, including back aches and headaches. According to a study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, getting extra sleep regularly sleep provided relief for patients compared to those who didn’t get as much.
That’s not to say you should be sleeping your entire day away. Dr. Thomas Roth, senior scientist of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at the hospital is quoted as saying, “If you are already sleeping eight hours a night, you probably don’t need more sleep. If you spend six hours in bed each night, spend eight – preferably nine.”
Below are some tips for seniors to help them get more sleep at night.
1. Adjust Your Position
With specific regard to back pain, adjusting the position in which you sleep can make all the difference in the world. It’s best to consult a doctor about this and how it relates to the specific issue you have, but some find sleeping on their side with their knees pulled up a bit can help. Sleeping on your stomach should be avoided if possible. If sleeping on your back, it can help to place a pillow under your lower back and another under your knees.
2. Avoid Screens Before Bedtime
To sleep better at night, it’s a good idea to turn off any screens at least an hour before going to sleep. That includes televisions, smartphones, tablets, and backlit e-readers. E-readers and tablets are popular gifts for seniors who like to read, but as convenient as they can be for pre-bedtime reading, you’re better off with a good, old-fashioned paper book or magazine in those late hours, or at least an e-reader that requires a separate light source for use.
3. Limit Naps
It’s a good idea to skip naps entirely for a good night’s sleep, but we’re only human. Sometimes a nice chair-nap comes on whether we want it to or not, especially as we get older. If you can, it’s best to limit naps to no longer than twenty or thirty minutes. If a nap is needed, the earlier in the day the better. A late-afternoon or evening nap is bound to keep you up come bedtime.
4. Diet For Sleep
If you’re not getting enough sleep, chances are there are some major dietary adjustments you should make. Foods that can help you sleep include:
- Tart cherries
- Whole grains
- Certain kinds of tea, including chamomile and passion fruit
There are also foods you’ll want to avoid, especially close to bedtime. Foods to skip include:
- Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
- Foods and drinks high in sugar
- Foods and drinks that can produce heartburn and acid reflux, such as tomato sauce and orange juice
5. Adjust Your Bedroom
There are several ways in which you can turn your bedroom into a better environment for good sleep:
- Get rid of the TV so you’re not tempted to watch it ahead of bedtime.
- Put your alarm clock where it’s not visible to you in bed. The glow can keep you awake.
- Make sure the room is dark and cool.
- Choose the right colors for your walls. Blue, yellow, green, silver, and orange seem to work the best for helping people maximize their sleep, according to at least one study.
When most people think about easing pain, they tend to think of medication, but some simple changes to your lifestyle to help you sleep better may be a good place to start.
GrandCare Systems is a caregiving tool designed to reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes by enabling designated family members, caregivers and healthcare professionals to remotely care for an individual in a residence, regardless of geographic location. The heart of GrandCare is a large touchscreen in the residence, which provides the individual with social communications, instructions, reminders and medication prompts.
Wireless activity sensors monitor daily activities without impeding on a resident’s independence or privacy. These sensors can help you know whether the resident is getting the valuable sleep he needs. You can also see graphs that help you see important information, such as whether sleep patterns have changed, if the resident has stayed in bed in bed longer than usual, or whether he has had a restless or restful night.
Richard Wright is an advocate for the ever-growing elderly population in the US. He helped create ElderCorps.org in an effort to help provide the aging population and their loved ones with resources to help them live safe, healthy, and happy lives. In his free time, Richard enjoys fishing and playing golf.