A common challenge that many seniors face is getting a good night’s sleep. As you age, you may notice that you nap more during the day, feel tired earlier at night, have trouble falling asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep quickly. These issues can cause you to still feel exhausted each morning.

Proper sleep helps your body by improving concentration and memory formation, and allows time for your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day.  Also, it allows you to wake up and have more energy to start your day. Research suggests many strategies that can help you overcome any sleep difficulties you might have and encourage a better night’s rest.

Tips to Improve Sleep:

  • Naturally boost your melatonin levels. Avoid artificial light at night by turning off the TV and computer at least one hour before bed.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Try using a sound machine, ear plugs, or a sleep mask.
  • Move bedroom clocks out of view. The light can disrupt your sleep and anxiously watching the minutes pass can cause insomnia.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up about the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Nap early. Nap early in the afternoon. Napping late in the day may disrupt your nighttime sleep.
  • Exercise. The chemicals released in your body during exercise promote more restful sleep.

How Can Outpatient Therapy Help?

Physical and Occupational Therapists use evidence-based interventions to address sleep issues and promote optimal sleep performance.  Therapy can help by addressing conditions that may be causing poor sleep quality such as pain, decreased range of motion, depression, and anxiety.  Additionally, therapy can help with establishing good bedtime routines, managing pain and fatigue, or addressing other barriers that make bedtime difficult like getting in and out of bed and trips to the restroom at night.

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