Ask SleepBetter: Why Can’t I Sleep Better Now That I’m Older?

Have you wondered about something related to sleep, but just can’t find the answer?  Lots of people do, and that’s why we created Ask SleepBetter.  You can ask your own question on the SleepBetter Facebook Page, or by using our Ask SleepBetter contact form.  We will try to answer as many questions as possible, but we are not able to answer queries about physical issues or medicinal issues.  Those should be addressed face-to-face with a physician.

Today’s question is related to seniors and their sleep:

“Why when you are older, you don’t seem to sleep as well as when you’re younger? Even with medication.”

-BJ Cozart Boone (via Facebook)

There are a lot of reasons, BJ.  Seniors generally sleep less than their younger counterparts, but it’s a myth that they don’t need as much sleep.  Older people needs just as much sleep as other adults, but aches and pains associated with older age make it more difficult to sleep a full night.

There are a few things you can do that may help you sleep better.  First, if poor sleep is an ongoing problem, discuss it with your doctor to determine whether there is a physical reason you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep.  Barring a physical problem, check your bedding.  Having a firm and appropriate mattress and pillows is critical for seniors.  If your mattress is getting too mushy, try adding a firm mattress topper as a way to make it firmer without breaking the bank.  Finally, try instituting a bedtime routine.  They help in teaching young children when it’s time for bed, but are also very useful in teaching your own adult body when it’s time to settle down.  A study from 2010 on sleep routines for the elderly found that it helped the subjects of the test fall asleep easier.  The researchers said that it’s likely that people simply benefit from synchronization between their daytime and nighttime activities.

Do you have a question for Ask SleepBetter?
You can send us a note through our contact form,
or simply post it on the SleepBetter Facebook Page.