Aging and Sleep: 11 Sleeping Tips for Older Adults
Failing to get a good night’s sleep can impact how we function during the day. It can impact our cognitive abilities and memory.
The sleep you need also changes over time. As a senior, this might mean that you go to bed much earlier than you did at a younger age but you also get up earlier too.
Aging and sleep issues often go hand in hand. You may not need as much sleep as you once did, but seniors still need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to feel rested.
If you’re a senior struggling to get a good night’s sleep, read on for a list of tips to help you get the sleep you need.
1. Consider Underlying Health Issues First
While it’s true that many seniors struggle with sleep issues, there are times when these issues are a secondary side effect of other health-related conditions.
Some health problems that commonly cause sleep problems include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Lung or heart conditions
- Urinary issues from an enlarged prostate or overactive bladder
- Depression or anxiety
- Neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Also, take a close look at medications that might be creating side effects that are impacting sleep habits.
2. Get Rid of Daytime Naps
Sure, we all love a good snooze in our chair late in the afternoon. Yet, these little cat naps can actually be preventing you from sleeping at night.
Your body only needs so much sleep. When you take those naps during the day, you are making it harder for yourself to fall asleep later.
If you feel yourself getting sleepy during the day, ask yourself if you have had enough water today.
Instead of staying put when you feel sleepy, try getting up and moving around a bit. If you know you’re normally sleepy in the afternoons, plan to take a short walk then.
If you must nap, try hard to limit your nap time to 20 minutes. This prevents you from getting into a deep sleep that will take away from your slumber time later.
3. Pay Attention to Your Diet
The diet of a senior can also impact their sleep.
Caffeine, especially late in the day, can affect your ability to sleep later. Alcohol is another sleep busting culprit. While some believe alcohol might help them go to sleep, it actually disrupts sleep rhythms.
Watch sugar intake and remember that sugar is hidden in many foods like white bread and pasta. The higher levels of sugar in your body can interrupt your sleep later in the night.
Likewise, a meal of spicy foods can cause indigestion that keeps you awake late at night.
Do you wake up many times during the night needing to go to the bathroom? Try limiting your liquid intake for an hour or two before bed.
Before bed try a light snack like a banana or yogurt and consider taking vitamins that help you sleep.
4. Get Daytime Exercise
When you exercise, your body will release chemicals. These chemicals help you get a restful night’s sleep later. You might be thinking, “I don’t get around well, how can I exercise?”
There are many options for movement and exercise, even for those who have some mobility issues.
Swimming and water aerobics are great aerobic exercises that don’t have the impact on your joints than some other exercises might. Take up golf or tennis to get moving. Even doing some daily gardening helps to get you moving.
Can’t go for a three-mile walk anymore? That’s okay, you can still do several small walks each day.
For those that want to stretch their muscles but have more limits, many seniors are enjoying chair yoga.
5. Work on a Sleep Routine
When you have an infant, you teach them about how to go to sleep. With children, you also establish bedtime routines that help them prepare to go to sleep.
As a senior, you need sleep routines too. When you have fewer commitments, it’s easy to get off on your schedule.
To get the best sleep and to make sure your body knows when to sleep and when to wake up, you need to stick to a sleep routine. This means you go to bed at the same time each night.
If you feel sleepy earlier than you used to, then adjust your bedtime. Going to bed at the same time each night helps your body know it’s time to sleep.
Also, get up at the same time each morning.
6. Create Bedtime Rituals
When we were little our parents would read us a story before bed. We got a kiss goodnight and maybe said our bedtime prayers.
There’s a reason parents universally create these bedtime rituals with kids. It works to tell our brain and body it’s time to sleep. The same is true as a senior.
Maybe you take a hot bath before bed. You could play some relaxing music. Practice some deep breathing exercises to calm your body.
Put on comfortable pajamas that make you relax. An hour before bed, try even having a decaf cup of tea or warm milk.
7. Bedrooms for Sleep and Sex Only
You (and your brain) need to view your bedroom as the place where you sleep and have intimate interactions.
So, often in today’s world, we move the TV into the bedroom. Pretty soon, you’re laying in bed watching TV late into the night, instead of sleeping.
Avoid setting up a desk in your bedroom for hobbies or work-related activities.
Think about your bed coverings. Do you wake up too hot in the night? You want your room to be cooler, so maybe think about a fan. It creates white noise and helps to keep you cool while you sleep.
Layer your bedding so it’s easy to push back some layers if you want to be cooler while you sleep.
8. Get Rid of Late Night Stimuli
Your brain needs time to shut down and get ready for sleep. It will help this to happen when you avoid overstimulation a few hours before bed.
This means avoiding electronics if at all possible. Watching the blood pumping movie might be interesting but your body is then filled with adrenaline and not ready for sleep.
Likewise, try to avoid using your electronic devices like a phone, iPad, or e-reader before bed. They all have blue light that can impact your brain and prevent it from settling down for sleep.
9. Address the Stress in Your Life
No matter your age, stress happens. When a person is feeling stressed and anxious, their brain works overtime, and falling asleep can feel impossible.
When we worry or feel anxiety, our minds work overtime. So, you need to find a way to address the stressors you feel.
Find a friend to talk through your worries with. Keep a journal. Sometimes just writing them down on paper helps work them out in your mind.
Practice deep breathing and soft stretching to release some of the anxiety from your body.
When you go to bed feeling stressed, choose a happy memory to relive inside your head and focus on the memory instead of the worries.
10. Consider Snoring Issues
Whether you are the snorer or you sleep next to someone who snores, you know it can greatly impact restful sleep.
If you are the snorer, talk to your doctor. The doctor can order a sleep study to evaluate your level of sleep apnea. C-pap machines help with breathing while snoring and can change the quality of your sleep.
Sometimes just finding the right pillow can change the angle of your head and help with snoring.
11. Avoid Using Sleep Aids
If you’re not sleeping well and are feeling desperate for a good night’s sleep, it’s understandable to want to take a sleep aid.
A sleep aid, whether over the counter or prescription, can provide some temporary relief, it doesn’t address the issues related to insomnia.
The pill might help you sleep one night, yet it is masking the reasons for your insomnia.
Sure, you might just want a decent night’s sleep. In the long run, you’re better off trying to figure out why you are having insomnia and address those issues instead of covering them up with a sleep aid.
Understanding the Impacts of Aging and Sleep
As we age our sleep patterns change and our sleep needs change. But just because you are aging doesn’t mean you don’t need a good night’s sleep.
If you’re struggling with aging and sleep-related issues, try one or more of these tips to get you the good night’s sleep you deserve.
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Private vs Public Health Insurance: What Are the Key Differences?
68% of Americans get medical assistance through private health care, but 63% also vote that the American government should provide public health care.
The benefit of private vs public health insurance is a hot topic among politicians and citizens, with one side claiming how “wrong” the other is. But what is the difference between them? Is one better?
Keep reading as we breakdown private vs public health insurance and the key differences between them.
Private Health Insurance
Private health insurance is when people get health insurance through private companies. This type of insurance goes to employees through their companies, but individuals can buy it as well.
There are a lot of pros to private healthcare. For example, there are more options of providers, a wider choice of doctors, and more flexible plans.
However, it is expensive, and companies will even cut wages to cover the cost of insurance. This leaves a lot of people without medical assistance and unable to get medicine because of the exorbitant costs.
Different Types of Private Health Insurance
The different types of private health insurance include fee-for-service, HMOs, and PPO’s.
Fee-for-service is the traditional private health insurance. You pay monthly premiums to your provider that cover most health costs, but with certain services, you’ll pay a bit out of pocket.
Health Maintenance Organizations, or HMOs, are prepaid health plans. You also pay a monthly premium, but the difference is you must receive health care from their facilities.
Preferred Provider Organizations, or PPO, is when you pay monthly premiums and small co-payments. The co-payments are paid when visiting the doctors. This does limit the doctors and facilities you can use.
Public Health Insurance
Public health insurance is when the government provides insurance plans. This helps low-income individuals or families, the elderly, and people who qualify for special subsidies get the medical attention they need.
Unlike private, public healthcare is funded through the government and taxes. The Affordable Care Act is in place to help manage and cover those in need of government assistance, but it is a big part of government spending.
Public Healthcare Providers
There are three ways the government provides healthcare. This is through Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.
Medicare is a federal insurance program for seniors, so those 65 and over, and those with certain disabilities. Medicare Health Insurance Experts work to figure who’s in need and what they need.
Medicaid is a social insurance program that’s funded by the federal and state government but gets administered at the state level. Medicaid covers millions of very low-income families.
Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, serves children and families who don’t qualify for assistance but can’t afford private health insurance. It aims to fill in the gaps in healthcare.
Private vs Public Health Insurance – Which is Better?
Private vs public health insurance isn’t a conversation about what’s the best type of insurance, it’s a conversation about how can we make them work together.
The key differences between private and public health insurance are that private healthcare is expensive and only available to those who can afford it. Public healthcare is free and only given to those who need it.
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This Is How to Get Vitamin D in the Winter
Do you want to know how to get vitamin D in the winter?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble mineral that regulates calcium and phosphate in the body. We need this to help promote healthier bone growth in our body. Thanks to the sun, we get our daily dose without any problems.
When the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit the skin, it activates a protein that promotes the production of vitamin D. During the winter, however, it’s harder to get enough UVB to produce the vitamin with the clouds blocking most of them. However, the sun isn’t the only source of the nutrient, here are some ways how you get in the winter.
Take Vitamin D Supplements
There are two kinds of vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D2 comes from plants or fungi and Vitamin D3 that’s found in animals. Both vitamin D2 and D3 improve the immune system, remedy fatigue and muscle pain, and help with depression.
For some people, taking vitamin D tablets is good enough. However, vitamin D3 is the only supplement most experts recommend for you to take. This is because vitamin D can’t bind to tissues well and D2 has a higher concentration than D3.
Eat Vitamin D Rich Food
Another way for you to increase your vitamin D intake during the winter is to eat meals that promote production. What’s great is that these foods are easy to get and store during the Fall season. They’re also easy enough to find during the winter.
There are many meals that can provide enough vitamin D during the winter days. Fatty fishes and seafood provide up 386 IU of vitamin D per serving, making it one of the richest natural sources. Eating mushrooms can be another source of this nutrient as they contain vitamin D2.
Using UV Lights
A UV-light lamp can become a good source of vitamin D in the winter. It can be a good substitute for the sun, and you can use them whenever and wherever you please. This is because they produce UV radiation that’s like the ones given off by the sun.
This also means that they bring the same dangers that overexposure to the sun brings, though. Overexposure to radiation for a long time can lead to your skin burning. Remember that the average usage of a UV-light should be around 12 -15 minutes.
Learn How to Get Vitamin D in the Winter Today
During the winter, you shouldn’t content yourself with the small amount of vitamin D you get from the sun. With most of the sun getting blocked by the weather conditions that the season brings, finding alternate sources is important to keep yourself healthy. Learn how to get vitamin D in the winter and promote your health today!
Do you want to learn more about what your body needs? Getting vitamin D shouldn’t be your only priority when promoting a healthy body. Check out more of our guides and posts to learn all you can today!
Living Your Best Life: 9 Must-Know Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle
Get this. Only 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy. Only 12%!
Metabolic health is your body’s ability to maintain ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference. All of these statistics help measure your overall health. The better these numbers, the better your overall health.
If so few people are healthy, it must not be worthwhile to put in the effort to get there right? Otherwise, everyone would be doing it!
Not so. There are a lot of benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and learning to add healthy habits doesn’t have to be hard.
Here are the top things you can do to live a healthier lifestyle, how they benefit you, and steps you can take today to implement them.
1. Eat Healthy Foods
This is not new information, but it’s still the core of creating a healthy lifestyle. Without proper nutrition, almost nothing else you do will matter. Fueling your body with clean energy is the key to building a healthy lifestyle.
What You Can Do Today
You can’t change your diet overnight. But you can make healthier choices. Start by getting rid of junk food, or at the very least hiding it out of sight or somewhere hard to get to.
Put healthy foods like fruits and vegetables in easy to reach places so you’re more likely to snack on them instead. Spend some time each week prepping veggies so they’re easy to add to a dish, or easy to munch on.
Each week, try a new healthy recipe and find new foods you love. Changing your diet takes time, but every time you make a healthy choice, you’re setting yourself up for a better life.
Benefits of Eating Well
Eating healthy helps you maintain a proper weight, which is key to preventing most of the most common causes of death. But it also improves your memory, gives you better energy, and can clear up bad skin and even headaches.
2. Move Every Day
This isn’t a surprise either. You know you need to exercise more. So what’s holding you back?
But here’s the cool thing. You don’t need to hit the gym to get the benefits of exercising more. The healthiest people incorporate movement into their daily lifestyle, not just at the gym.
What You Can Do Today
Start just by moving more. Set a reminder on your phone to stand up every hour for three minutes or so. Take a walk during lunch. Park at the back of the parking lot. Always take the stairs.
But you should also find a form of movement you love. While lifting weights and cardio are important, exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore. If you enjoy rock climbing, yoga, soccer, dance, or any other thing that gets you moving, pursue that!
Benefits of Moving More
Better sleep, better energy, more muscle tone, more physically capable longer in your life. You’ll also be better looking, you’ll be more active for longer, and you’ll feel better about yourself. Regular exercise can even relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
3. Set a Regular Sleep Schedule
Sleep is a fundamental core to maintaining proper health. In a perfect world, you’d get up and sleep with the sun cycle. Even if that’s not realistic for your lifestyle, you should still set a regular bedtime and wake up time you follow every day.
What You Can Do Today
Highlight problems that keep you from getting good sleep. Upgrade your mattress or linens if you’re not comfortable, or buy blackout curtains if light keeps you awake. Set white noise or pink noise to help you sleep better.
Set up a night routine that can help your mind rest. Include things like journaling or setting up a diffuser with a lavender scent to help your brain fall asleep.
It’s also smart to stop using technology an hour before bed, and stop eating three hours before bed.
Benefits of Proper Sleep
A regular sleep cycle can help you wake up with more energy, and improve your focus throughout the day. It also improves your memory and fights inflammation in your body to keep you healthier. It can even help you lose weight.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
If you’re drinking your calories, you’re doing it wrong. Water should be the main beverage you drink, and all (or at least most) of your calories should come from real food.
What You Can Do Today
Get a water bottle you like and start carrying it with you everywhere. If you hate the taste of water, get an infuser and add cucumbers, mint, strawberries, or lemon so you can enjoy it more.
Often just having water nearby will help you drink more. You can also set triggers throughout your day to remind you to drink, like immediately after getting up, or before a mealtime.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated helps you keep clear skin. It lubricates your joints and airways and supports your brain. You can feel more alert and consume fewer calories throughout the day. But it also helps to flush out waste in your body and maintain your blood pressure.
5. Manage Stress in Your Life
A small amount of stress or stress in short bursts is really good for you. Long-term stress can wreak havoc. It contributes to ulcers, depression, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
So learning to manage stress is important to keep a healthy lifestyle.
What You Can Do Today
Meditating and journaling are often the two best DIY ways to manage stress. But it’s also a good idea to find someone you can confide, whether it’s a close friend or family member or a therapist.
It’s also a good idea to create space in your life to relax and have fun. Consider yoga, painting, or hiking, or anything that helps you relax.
Benefits of Lowering Stress
Lowering stress helps fight inflammation, headaches, depression, and anxiety. It can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight and other healthy lifestyle habits too.
6. Build a Strong Social Circle
Taking care of your body isn’t enough to live a healthy lifestyle. You also need to nourish your soul, and the best way to do that is by building a strong social circle.
What You Can Do Today
Spend time with your friends, family, and community. Reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken with in a long time, or join a new group or club. Try to set up a regular coffee date or brunch time with friends, and get to know your neighbors.
Benefits of Close Friends
Having people you can rely on fights depression and loneliness. These people can support you through dark times and encourage you to live your best life.
7. Don’t Skip Doctors Appointments
Make sure you visit the doctor and dentists as often as recommended. Early detection is the key to treating most terminal diseases, and these diseases can’t be detected early if you never visit the doctor.
What You Can Do Today
Make sure you have a doctor’s appointment scheduled in the future. Visit the dentist, doctor, and eye doctor regularly. If you haven’t in a while, schedule an appointment today.
Benefits of Seeing the Doctor
While the initial trip (and following bill) isn’t fun, regular doctor visits are the key to detecting diseases before they become a problem.
8. Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Your Products
Personal products and cleaning solutions often have a lot of chemicals that we don’t know exactly what they do. What’s scary is as more research comes out, we find that they have negative health impacts we didn’t even know about.
These are things like phthalates, sulfuric acid, ammonia, and much more. In fact, out of the thousands of chemicals that go into cleaning products, we only have a full toxicity report for 7% of them.
What You Can Do Today
Start learning about the most common chemicals in cleaning and personal products, and learn to spot them in your products. Then replace them with safer alternatives. Visit a high-quality hair store or your local health food store for safer options.
Benefits of Eliminating Toxins
The fewer toxins your body has to process, the less stress and inflammation you put your body through. Plus eliminating these toxins can lower your risks for long-term deadly diseases like cancer. Ingredients like triclosan, bisphenol A, phthalates, parabens, and alkylphenols have all been linked to breast cancer.
9. Use Drugs in Moderation
We’re talking mostly about alcohol, tobacco, and pot since those are the legal ones. Drink alcohol or smoke marijuana in moderation and avoid tobacco.
While a lot of research is still out on marijuana, there have been links to more frequent lung problems, and a lack of motivation.
What You Can Do Today
Take stock fo your relationship to drugs and alcohol. If you think it may be unhealthy, talk to a professional.
Benefits of Limiting Drug Use
Alcohol is the most widely socially accepted form of imbibing, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Limiting your alcohol use protects your liver, and stopping smoking prevents lung disease.
The Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle Outweigh the Work to Get There
There are a lot of benefits of a healthy lifestyle. While it does take work to get there, the fundamentals are easy to understand and implement. The pros outweigh the effort it takes to establish healthy habits.
So follow these tips for living a healthy life, and enjoy living your best life.
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