Tips for a good night’s sleep

Following these tips and establishing a routine can be the key to sleeping better.

A bed pushed up against a blue wall with a lamp and glass of water on the night stand.

As we age, we still need the same amount of sleep as we did when we were working adults, seven to nine hours. Unfortunately, due to pain, worry or prescription medicine keeping us awake, many of us do not get enough sleep. If this is the case, then you may find that the next day is very frustrating because you become irritable, forgetful, depressed and more likely to suffer from falls or accidents.

Tips for a good night’s sleep from the National Institute on Health:

  • Follow a sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up the same time each day, even on weekends
  • Avoid eating heavy foods or large meals. Close to the time you go to bed, you do not want food laying in your stomach, so try to avoid eating large meals right before sleep.
  • Don’t use technology in bedroom. The light from televisions, computers, cell phones and tablets make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Control the temperature. Don’t make your bedroom too warm or too cold.
  • Stay away from caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and may keep you awake.
  • Exercise every day. Exercise daily around the same time every day, but not within three hours of your bedtime.
  • Avoid napping. During the late afternoon, try not to nap because it can keep you awake at night.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. By taking time to relax by reading a book, taking a warm bath or listening to music before bed, you may make falling asleep easier.

Another component to restful sleep is a comfortable and safe place to doze off. Check your smoke alarms every six months to assure they are working properly, always have a list of emergency numbers by your bed along with a phone, remove area rugs so you don’t trip when getting up, and have a glass of water by your bed in case you get thirsty in the night.

For more tips on health and nutrition, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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