How to Cultivate Healthy Sleep Habits
Published March 4, 2021 by Francesca Robinson, MA in Senior Health & Wellness
Blustering 40-50 mph winter winds shook my window panes. I lay awake listening to the wind howl outside my window. Normally, I’d roll over and be back to sleep, but lately, those middle-of-the-night wakings mean I’ll toss and turn for an hour or two.
Sleep, getting enough of it, can seem like a never-ending battle and with a busy schedule keeping up with two young, energetic, kids, I’m pretty serious about my sleep. Yet, there are many ways I can better cultivate healthy sleep habits.
Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Have you examined your sleep habits lately? Here are a few tips to help us all get serious about sleep.
Assess Your Sleep
Take some time to reflect on your sleep. Take this online assessment test by Web MD to help gain some insight into your sleep habits. Keep a sleep diary for two weeks to notice patterns and sleep quality. What stands out to you? Were you surprised by what you discovered? Did any patterns emerge?
Establish New Sleep Habits
Choose one or two new habits to incorporate into your daily routine. SleepEducation.org recommends incorporating the following sleep habit tips:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
Talk to your Doctor about Your Sleep Disturbances
The CDC recommends Adults consistently aim for 7 hours of sleep a night. If your sleep falls short of this goal, it may be time to make some changes. After spending time tracking your sleep and implementing new healthy sleep habits, if lack of sleep continues to disrupt your daily life then talk to your doctor.
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