Sleeping is a natural part of your life that you take for granted growing up. Once you are near retirement age though, this natural ability to fall asleep and stay asleep begins to lose its grip on you. Many older adults have problems sleeping and some just deal with it and accept it is a part of the process of growing older. But there are some things for insomnia relief you can do to raise your chances of getting a good nights sleep.
First, as we grow older, our bodies produce less of the chemicals that tell your body when its time to sleep and wake up. The main ingredient in this chemical recipe is melatonin. When this key chemical decreases, your inner clock, called the circadian rhythm, is thrown off.
You may find you never really fall into a deep, restful sleep because you are waking up several times a night or have trouble even falling asleep or waking too early. This can be quite frustrating considering that you need the same amount of sleep that you did before. You sometimes might have to take naps to compensate for your tiredness during the day.
There are a few things you can try that can help alter your sleep patterns. For instance, take the above paragraph where melatonin was discussed. You can buy melatonin in pill form from a pharmacy. After getting the o.k. from your doctor, follow the instructions for taking the melatonin, but be patient as it might take a few days for it to be really effective. The melatonin has been helpful for some people in “reprogramming” the body to recognize its own circadian rhythms and getting insomnia relief.
Sometimes, it can be a matter of altering your sleeping habits in order to get a good nights sleep. One of the many suggestions doctors will tell older adults is to develop a bedtime routine and stick to it, even when traveling. You are training your body to expect sleep at a certain time, which will help improve your sleep patterns. Here are a few more suggestions for older adults in regards to getting a good, restful sleep:
Exercise is important, not only for your health, but also improving sleep. Because sleep is a rejuvenator, exercise can tire your body enough to where it needs that sleep to recuperate. Keep your sleeping area cool, dark and quiet. Many older adults experience many body changes like menopause, so hot flashes are sometimes the norm. Keeping cool allows your body to advance from drowsiness to sleep. Dark and quiet time simulates the night, which helps keep your circadian rhythms in check.
Choose several relaxing activities and incorporate them into your bedtime routine. Soft music, a good book and even a glass of warm milk are all great ideas. Warm milk is especially helpful as it contains tryptophan, which is a natural sleep aid.
Journaling your day also helps you put your thoughts and worries on paper, so that your mind isnt clouded at bedtime. Stress and obsessing over events that happened in your day are several things that interfere with sleep patterns.
The problem with getting older is that you sometimes end up with additional health issues. These health issues can get in the way of a good nights sleep. Arthritis, heart problems, reflux and stroke are just a few of the many conditions that play a part in insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Medications for these conditions and others like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimers disease are also culprits. Depression plays a role in sleeplessness as do chronic pain conditions. Talking with your doctor is important. Between the two of you, you can create a game plan which may or may not include sleep medications.
Just know that getting older does not mean you have to needlessly suffer from lack of sleep or rest. It is not normal and you have to be proactive in your approach to solve the problem. Whether it is simple lifestyle changes or something more major like medications to induce sleep, you have choices available to you for getting that restful sleep you need.