As with other aspects of your life, your sleep habits, and your ability to fall asleep will change as you grow older. You may find that it takes you longer to fall asleep, or that you wake up in the middle of the night, or that you can’t figure out the right amount of sleep for you. Try these 6 simple tips to improve your sleep habits as you age.
1) Put A Routine In Place
Routines can be helpful in building good habits in many areas of your life. Your sleep habits are no different. Try to build a sleep routine by picking a realistic bedtime that you can stick to. Once your body gets used to winding down at the same time every day, you should have an easier time falling asleep. Try to give yourself ample time to decompress before you lay down, too. Winding your activity down for the final hour before bed can help your body get into rest mode more quickly. This could mean limiting screen time or stopping activities that require you to think about, such as reading or crossword puzzles.
2) Pay Attention to Temperature
It is ideal to allow your body to cool down for sleep. One way to achieve this is, of course, to keep the temperature in your bedroom cool. You can also trick your body into cooling itself down by taking a warm shower or bath before bed. The warm water will raise your body temperature, forcing it to cool itself down as you get out. The change in temperature will also make you feel more tired as your body uses energy to cool down.
3) Don’t Be Afraid of Sleep Technology
These days there are tons of sleep gadgets available. Just as in other aspects of daily life, technology is helping people sleep better, too. Using sleep monitoring apps, smartwatches, even select mattresses equipped with sleep aid technology can give you insight into how you can improve your sleep. Some smartwatches monitor your sleep cycles and store your information on an app that you can later analyze. You can find out what time of night you get your most restful sleep, see if or when you had bouts of fitful sleep, and keep track of the amount of time that you are sleeping on average. All of this information is helpful when trying to build your sleep routine. There are even smart devices that could actually help you fall asleep. Aside from watches and wristbands, there are also smart headbands which promise to help you sleep better.
4) Monitor Your Medications
Occasionally, medication or combination of drugs may interfere with your sleep. Pay attention to side effects that are listed on your prescriptions. If restlessness or insomnia are listed as possible side effects, talk with your doctor. They may be able to change your dosage or switch you to another medication that will not affect your sleep routine. They may also be able to give you tips on how to counteract the side effects. Remember, it’s always helpful to keep open communication with your doctor.
5) Know What to Avoid
Maybe you used to be able to drink four cups of coffee a day without it making an impact on your ability to fall asleep. Perhaps you were once a napper, snoozing in the middle of the day to get an energy burst for later. These are examples of things that might change as you get older, so you need to know what to avoid. If caffeine is no longer doing you any favors, opt for decaf coffee, especially as it gets closer to bedtime. Don’t take naps in the afternoon if it means you won’t feel tired at bedtime. Drink less water as it gets later to avoid waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.
6) Exercise Regularly
Wearing yourself out physically is always recommended when you are having a hard time falling asleep. This doesn’t mean that you need to overdo it. As little as a half-hour of light activity, a day will start to improve your sleep habits. You might see improvements in other areas, too, such as decreased joint pain, fewer headaches, etc. These improvements might also help your sleep as if you are more comfortable and experience less pain; you may fall asleep more quickly. You may even find that you wake up feeling less stiff.