Not having enough sleep can impact both your mental and physical wellbeing. Sleep allows your body the time to rest and repair after each day, helping to build your immune system.
If you are continually not sleeping well, you may be suffering from a common sleep disorder. These sleep disorders include sleep apnoea or insomnia. However, for many of us there are some simple tips you can put in place to improve your sleep.
To assist in your journey to improve your sleep, it is important to understand how much sleep you actually need and what good sleep hygiene is. The Sleep Health Foundation recommends that adults aged 26-64 years should get 7 to 9 hours sleep, and that it is not recommended to have less than 6 hours or more than 10 hours. For seniors, over the age of 64, it is recommended to get 7 to 8 hours sleep. It is not recommended to have less than 5 hours or more than 9 hours. Despite what many think, older adults do not need more sleep than when they were younger – it remains about the same.
Sleep hygiene are “the habits that help you have a good night’s sleep” and can often play a larger role on how well a person sleep’s than we realise.
Some good sleep habits, to improve your sleep and sleep hygiene include:
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes
Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can keep you awake. These are both best to be avoided in the evening or close to your bedtime. While alcohol might help you fall to sleep, it will often cause you to have a more disruptive or restless sleep.
Make sure your bedroom and mattress are comfortable
The best atmosphere for a good night sleep is a dark, quiet room with temperature control. Your mattress, bedding and pillow should feel comfortable and appropriate for the right season. The right pillow and support can be just as important as your mattress, and are recommended to be replaced every 18 months.
Regular sleep patterns and bedtimes
One of the most beneficial sleep hygiene tips to improve your sleep is to keep regular sleep hours. There is a reason that our parents used to give us a set bedtime as children, these consistent sleep habits help strengthen our body clock’s rhythm.
At Seasons Communities we make sure that our evening meals are within the same period each night so that this can help form part of our resident’s night-time routine.
Start a relaxing bedtime routine
Set aside time before you go to sleep to ‘wind down’ and relax. This should include avoiding any technology, especially your phone or the TV. An essential hormone for sleep, melatonin, is produced and prompted from fading light or darkness. If you are using your phone to wind down, the bright light will limit your melatonin production. Ultimately this will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
Instead try relaxing activities such as taking a warm bath, stretching or meditating.
What to do next?
If these tips to help improve your sleep did not assist you, it might be time to speak with a professional. Your GP or a sleeping disorder clinic are the best place to start. Often, a professional will ask you to keep a sleep diary to track your sleeping behaviours and patterns. We’ve found a great resource here, which you could download and fill in before you go.