A night of satisfying sleep can become a distant dream with each passing decade. It is a problem that is literally giving sleepless nights to many middle-aged as well as elderly individuals.
As you age a lot changes in your body. The quality of sleep generally deteriorates with increasing number of age-related disturbances like body pain, frequent urge to urinate, sleep apnea, etc.
Did you know that middle-aged men are affected by changing sleep patterns more than women?
A study shows that middle-aged men tend to wake up more easily from the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of their sleep than women. It means that men tend to spend less time in the dream phase of their sleep.1 Maybe that is why men can’t remember what they dreamt of. (Am I right, ladies?) Also, men are twice more likely to suffer from sleep apnea which is never good for their sleep.2
Unfortunately, you can’t control these changes. You can’t run against time to restore what is already lost, but you can definitely change and adapt accordingly to make your life better.
1. Check Your Medication
Is the prescribed medication hampering your sleep? You can easily examine if that’s the case. If the sleep disruption has started after you started the medication, then it might be the problem. Talk to your doctor and check if you could be prescribed something different that won’t hamper your sleep.
2. Watch Your Fluid Intake At Night
If you are diabetic or have urinary incontinence, then you would urinate frequently. You may seek treatment for your incontinence. Also, you may try to reduce fluid intake two hours prior to bed time to reduce the chances of going to the bathroom. This may help you sleep well without disruptions. However, be careful, as reduced intake could make you thirsty and wake you up in the middle of the night. Monitor your intake and see what works best for you.
3. Treat Your Pain
Persistent pain can make it hard for you to sleep, peacefully. It can also significantly, restrict your motion. Unfortunately, a small movement can trigger intense pain enough to wake you up from sleep. Check with your physician if you could be prescribed pain relief medication, also work with him/her to identify the real cause of pain.
4. Keep Your Bedroom Dark
Darkness helps induce sleep. Research shows that darkness helps increase the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted in our body that helps us fall asleep. Make sure your room is appropriately dark before going to bed. One way to do that is to keep it gadget free. Switch off the TV, laptops or computers, and mobile phones.
5. Drink Caffeine In Moderation
Caffeine boosts energy. It is a great drink to start your morning with but it is a bad way to end your day. Caffeine can rob you of your sleep. So, limit your caffeine intake and avoid having any of it at least eight hours before you go to sleep. This will allow you to have a good sleep.
6. Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
You may think that drinking alcohol can help you sleep well. While it may help you fall asleep quickly, once its effect wears off you will be snapped out of sleep! So, it is advised that you limit your alcohol consumption before sleeping.
7. You Can Try Melatonin Medication
You can also opt for melatonin tablets to help you sleep. But, before you start, consult with your doctor about the safe usage, dosage, and frequency.
There are many things out there that can help you with your problem. Mindful meditation can help you get some peaceful shuteye.3 Music can affect your parasympathetic system in a wonderful manner and help you beat your age-related sleeping woes and blues.4
Remember, you are not alone in this. If sleep disturbance is taking a toll on you, then don’t hesitate to seek help.
|↑1||KOBAYASHI, RIKO, MASAKO KOHSAKA, NORIKO FUKUDA, HIROSHI HONMA, SATOSHI SAKAKIBARA, and TSUKASA KOYAMA. “Gender differences in the sleep of middle‐aged individuals.” Psychiatry and clinical neurosciences 52, no. 2 (1998): 186-187.|
|↑2||Sleep And Men. UCLA Health.|
|↑3||Mindfulness meditation helps fight insomnia, improves sleep. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑4||Can Music Help You Calm Down And Sleep Better? National Sleep Foundation.|