By| Published: August 5th, 2016
It is a myth that we need less sleep, as we grow older. Our need for sleep remains fairly constant throughout our life. But, sleep patterns tend to change over time.
• Sleep patterns tend to change
• Physiological and psychological problems can interfere with sleep
• Harder time falling asleep, staying asleep or sleep less soundly
• May spend less time in deep sleep
• May feel less well rested and alert than you used to after a night’s sleep
• Depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain and digestive problems can contribute to insomnia
• An enlarged prostate and diabetes cause a need to urinate several times during the night
• Medications, including some antidepressants, bronchodilators, high blood pressure medicines and steroids can disturb sleep
What we can do
Limit naps during the day
Do not take a tap if it makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep at night. If you do nap, keep it short (15-30 minutes).
Create a subtle background noise like that from a fan or close your bedroom door to drown out other noises. Drink less water before bedtime, so that you will not have to use the bathroom as often.
Address problems with partners
Encourage a snoring or restless partner to see a doctor. If your pet sleeps with you, be cautious since it can interrupt your sleep. You may not be aware of it.
Create a restful environment
Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Use good sheets, blankets and pillows. Ensure that your mattress is neither too soft nor too firm. Use the bedroom only for relaxing activities.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule
Go to bed at the same time every day and get up at the same time every morning.
Avoid substances that disrupt sleep
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and decongestants during the late afternoon and evening. They can keep you awake. Alcohol may make you sleep at bedtime, but it increases alertness later in the night when you should be asleep.
Exercise at the right time
Complete all physical activity at least 5-6 hours before you go to sleep.
Settle down gradually
Take a warm shower or bath. Read a book. Do not watch the news if it generally distresses you. Either way, watching television before bedtime is best avoided.
Be careful with medications
Consult your doctor before taking any sleeping pills, especially if you are taking other prescription medications. Confirm whether these may be contributing to insomnia.
Good sleep habits can help minimize or prevent sleep problems.