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Older adults often sleep less deeply and wake up more often throughout the night, which may be why they may nap more often during the daytime. Nighttime sleep schedules may change with age. Many older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning.

Some reasons why older adults sleep less deeply and wake up more often during the night are:

  • Older adults may produce and secrete less melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.
  • Increased sensitivity to changes in their environment, such as noise.

Not sleeping well can lead to a number of problems. Older adults who have poor nighttime sleep are more likely to have a depressed mood, attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, more nighttime falls, and use more over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. Poor sleep is also associated with a poorer quality of life.

Tips to Sleep Better

  1. Avoid Alcohol
    • Alcohol can cause restlessness during the night. Caffeine and nicotine have substances in them that will keep you awake.
  2. Avoid Smoking
    • Nicotine has substances in it that will keep you awake.
  3. Avoid Caffeine
    • Caffeine has substances in it that will keep you awake.
  4. Exercise regularly
    • But do not exercise near your bedtime.
  5. Avoid sleep interruptions
    • Don't sleep with the pet, close your door, minimize light and noise.
  6. Relax before bedtime
    • A warm bath or light snack
  7. Avoid liquids before bedtime
    • Limits having to use the bathroom at night.
  8. Avoid long naps during the day
    • Naps can disrupt your sleeping pattern.
  9. Avoid trying to sleep
    • the more you "try" to sleep, the more difficult it becomes.
  10. Get up at the same time each morning
    • Too much time in bed can lead to restless sleep.
  11. Use your bed for sleeping
    • Not for unrelated activities like reading or watching tv.
  12. Check your medications

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