Do you have difficulty sleeping? It’s a common problem as you age, with almost 50% of older adults experiencing insomnia. Poor quality and/or quantity of sleep can have a drastic impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.
A good night’s sleep can boost your mood, improve your energy levels, give you heightened cognitive functioning and aid in physical repair and wellness. It is also the time when your immune system does its best work, fighting off disease and keeping you strong and healthy.
Insomnia, or an ability to sleep, has the opposite effect and can cause serious health problems.
Tips to help you get to sleep and stay asleep
- Take time to relax before bed. For you this may be having a nice warm bath, reading a good book, having a soothing warm drink, or listening to a meditation
- Essential oils such as lavender and vanilla have been shown to relax and improve sleep. Add a few drops to your bath, or have a diffuser in your bedroom
- Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, beans and oats have also been shown to improve sleep through their ability to regulate blood sugar levels
- Avoid any stimulants before bed. Caffeine is not only in coffee but also found in black and green teas, as well as in chocolate. Alcohol and cigarettes should also be avoided before bed.
- TV before bed is okay, but make sure you aren’t looking at your phone, tablet or computer screen in the two hours prior to your bedtime. The light emitted from these devices affects the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake patterns.
- Maintain a sleep routine. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time in the morning helps your body and brain to recognise when it’s time to sleep.
When is it time to seek help?
If you are regularly experiencing sleep problems and you feel that it is impacting you during your daytime hours, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP about it.
Your GP may prescribe you some short-term medication to help you sleep. Sometimes, it is just a matter of breaking a pattern, and medication can be helpful for this. You may even get to visit a sleep clinic for some further advice, or to help diagnose a specific sleep condition.
Is it stress-related?
It is common to have difficulty sleeping if you’re feeling a bit stressed – which wouldn’t be surprising given the current global pandemic situation! If you think that your sleeping problems may be caused by stress, try some of the relaxation tips above, or ask for some external help.
If you are feeling like the things you need to do around the home are getting a bit much, give yourself a little break! Try some Home Care services, even if they are just short-term to help you get back on top of things.
Speak with a CareAbout Adviser about Home Care: learn more about your Home Care options, the government’s Home Care Package program, and how to apply.