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The Elderly and Sleep Hygiene

By : Kasia Krawczyk

As we get older, our bodies undergo a wide variety of changes, including those that affect our sleep patterns. A good night’s sleep is imperative for maintaining overall health and well-being, especially for older adults. Sleep, health, and aging are all connected. Adequate sleep is essential for the proper functioning of the body and mind. As we age, our sleep patterns change, and the amount of sleep needed by age varies. Understanding the relationship between aging and sleep can help seniors maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In addition to older adults, family caregivers also often struggle getting an adequate amount of sleep. Most of these caregivers are providing care for their family members with little support for themselves. Not surprisingly, their sleep and quality of life can be deeply impacted. Studies have shown that nearly half of all family caregivers of in-home hospice patients report insomnia symptoms.

While the amount of sleep needed varies from person to person, most researchers agree that sleep in older adults should range between 7 and 8 hours per night. However, it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly. This is especially important for family caregivers as they need rest in order to prevent caregiver burnout. 

Tips for Improving Sleep Quality in Seniors:

  • Create a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate your body’s internal clock and improve sleep quality.

  • Develop a bedtime routine: Engage in relaxing activities before bed, such as reading, listening to calming music, or practicing relaxation techniques like yoga for seniors.

  • Pay attention to diet: Eating a balanced diet and avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime can help promote better sleep. 

  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to create an ideal sleeping environment.

  • Address any medical issues: Speak with your healthcare provider about any sleep problems, medications, or medical conditions that may be affecting your sleep.



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