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2nd Feb 2024
Deeper Sleep for Seniors

Sleep Soundly This Winter – A Comprehensive Guide to Cozier, Deeper Sleep for Seniors

The cold winter months often bring sleep troubles, even for seniors who have no problem with sleep the rest of the year. Shorter days, dropping temperatures, and long nights can make it tough to drift off and stay asleep. Have no fear – we’ve got pro tips to help you slumber like a log all winter long!

  1. Soak Up that Sunshine

Go outside for some natural sunlight as much as you can, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Exposure to sunlight during the day will help regulate your circadian rhythm so you feel sleepy come bedtime.

Try to get at least 30-60 minutes of morning light by opening all your blinds and curtains to let the sunlight in. Go for a walk outdoors right after breakfast to reset your body clock. Or if you’re stuck inside during the day, sit near windows whenever possible. During winter, bright light therapy lamps are also an option to get your daily dose of sunshine without freezing your buns off!

  1. Wear Layers to Bed

Frustrated by getting tangled in bulky blankets? Sleep in breathable layers so your body temp stays comfortable all night. This will prevent you from overheating or getting chilly, both of which can lead to poor sleep. Pro tip: pre-warm your bed with a hot water bottle before slipping in. The initial warmth will help you fall asleep faster, and your layers will trap the heat all night long.

Avoid flannel sheets in the winter, as they hold onto body heat and can cause sweating. Opt for cotton, bamboo, or microfiber sheets under your blanket. And don’t forget to wear a cosy sleep cap or headband. A lot of heat escapes from your head, so keeping it covered will help you stay warm without overheating the rest of your body.

  1. Sip Sleepy-Time Tea

Warm up with a steaming mug of chamomile, lavender, or other herbal tea to relax before bed. You may even add a splash of milk and a bit of honey to dial up the soothing effects. The pre-bedtime ritual will cue your body that it’s time to unwind. Savour the process of preparing and sipping your tea – don’t gulp it down!

Try doing a calming activity like reading, stretching, or meditation during your tea time. Avoid stimulating activities like computer or TV screens, chores, or anything that will rev up your mind and body. The goal is to get into a relaxed state so you drift off to dreamland quickly after your head hits the pillow.

  1. Diffuse Calming Scents

Essential oil diffusers are great for dispersing relaxing aromas like lavender and eucalyptus into your bedroom. Even something as simple as vanilla extract dabbed onto your pillowcase can help you sleep more soundly.

Look for essential oils labelled “sleep” or “relax” blends. Good smells to try are lavender, chamomile, cedarwood, and marjoram. Run your diffuser about 30 minutes before bed so the scent has time to permeate your space. Be careful with spicy oils like peppermint, as they can be energising. You want sweet, floral, woody, or herbal scents to promote snoozing.

  1. Get Home Care Assistance

Home care assistance offers invaluable peace of mind for seniors, ensuring they feel secure and comfortable in their own homes during the night. The presence of a caregiver to address any emergencies that may arise can significantly reduce stress and contribute to better sleep for the elderly. Knowing that your senior parent isn’t alone during the long, dark nights can also provide relief and comfort.

Also Read: Best Sleeping Directions as per Vastu Shastra

  1. Try White Noise

Drown out creaks and noises that might jolt you awake with a white noise app or sound machine. Having a dull roar like rainfall or static in the background minimizes disruptions so you can sleep undisturbed all night long. You’d be surprised how well a steady, monotonous sound can promote uninterrupted sleep!

Experiment and find the white noise that works best for you. Some find babbling brooks or ocean waves ultra-soothing. Others prefer fan or air conditioner hums. Still others like soothing music or ambient tunes. See if you sleep best with nature noises, mechanical drones, or tunes on a loop, to fully mask any disruptions.

  1. Maintain a Bedtime Routine

Having a consistent bedtime routine trains your body to start producing sleep hormones like melatonin at the same time each evening. Try to stick to the same schedule of unwinding activities for 30-60 minutes. This could include sipping tea, reading, light yoga, soft music, aroma therapy, or meditation.

Repeating the sequence nightly will ingrain the sleep association. Your body will start recognizing the activities as signals to start slowing down for rest. Over time, your nightly rhythm will become second nature, making it easier to fall asleep. Aim for a 10:30 pm bedtime if possible to capitalize on natural melatonin release.

  1. Limit Caffeine and Daytime Naps

It’s tempting to drink coffee all day for an energy boost or sneak in catnaps when feeling drowsy. However, too much caffeine or daytime sleeping can interfere with your nighttime sleep drive. Try to limit coffee to mornings only, swap mid-day tea for decaf, and avoid sugary sodas.

Keep naps under 60-90 minutes in the early afternoon at the latest – any longer or later and you risk not feeling sleepy at bedtime. Remember, feeling tired makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. So limit stimulants and snoozing during the day to set yourself up for success at night.

There you have it – 8 tips to sleep like a baby all winter long! Follow this advice and you’ll sail through the colder months waking up refreshed and ready to seize the day. The simple tricks above will have you sleeping soundly regardless of the weather outside. Sweet dreams!

Learn more about Emoha Elder Care’s comprehensive senior care plans for you and your loved ones, designed to keep them engaged, empowered, and enhanced. Our services focus on offering top-quality, cost-effective home care for seniors and other vulnerable individuals in our community.