How Seniors Can Sleep Better

May 03, 2023

Getting undisturbed, peaceful and good night's slumber can become increasingly difficult as we age and about half of older people struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling rested. Leading to a variety of health problems, including increased risk of falls, depression, and cognitive impairment. Fortunately, there are several things that seniors can do to improve the quality and quantity of their slumber, which, we'll explore here.

These tips can help elderly people snooze better and wake up feeling refreshed. From establishing a bedtime routine to making changes to the environment and buying orthopedic mattress, we'll cover practical tips that can help seniors get the rest they need to maintain their health and well-being.

We have categorized these tips into 3 sections, which are

Environment-related Tips

  • Create a sleep-conducive environment

To have a good night's sleep, our minds and bodies must first relax and slow down so that they can eventually enter a non-REM state. If your surroundings are cluttered and distracting, it will keep your mind active and won't relax. You'll find yourself awake late at night, unable to turn off your mind. Avoid this by organising your room in a way that allows you to effortlessly fall asleep. Make your space as peaceful and soothing as possible. Arrange furniture and other items to create a clean and orderly appearance. Make your room well-ventilated, and airy to keep it fresh also you can place some indoor plants for freshness and positivity. De-clutter the room and keep only necessary items as more stuff in the room can create an untidy and unorganised atmosphere.

Durfi Mattress

  • Use comfortable bed & bedding

The elderly generally struggle to lie properly in their beds due to their frail bodies and continual aches and pains; they are always uncomfortable and endure pain, stiffness, and pressure spots. As a result, their sleep is disrupted.

It can, however, be avoided by investing in a better mattress and bedding that provides balanced and essential comfort. Although there are other possibilities, an orthopedic mattress is one of the greatest and most appropriate mattress options. It is one of the best mattresses for treating back pain and other related ailments. You can also select memory foam or pocket spring mattresses if you want. These mattresses also provide good body support and relief from back discomfort.

When purchasing mattresses for senior citizens, it is critical to avoid too plush or soft mattresses. Choose firm ones instead. It is also worthwhile to invest in quality bedding, such as pillows, blankets, and toppers, for a restful night's slumber.

  • Minimize noise and light

At night, keep the lights off, close the windows and draw the curtains to block out noise and outside light from getting in. Having bright lights and disturbing noises can create disturbances that can make it difficult to sleep or maintain a slumber. This can disrupt everyone's sleep but especially affect the elderly because, due to their age, they are light sleepers and easily wake up with the slightest disturbances. Elderly people, however, require some light to easily see and for simple movement, for that use a low-light night bulb or table lamp.

Minimize Noise And Light

  • Limit screen time

In India, an increasing proportion of older people spend their days watching television due to a lack of alternative forms of entertainment. However, prolonged exposure to television or other screens, such as mobile phones, can interrupt slumber. Because of their age and changes in their bodies, older adults often struggle to doze off. Watching television, mobile devices, or other screens that emit blue light can disturb the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, making falling and staying asleep even more difficult.

It also suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep regulation, making it more difficult to feel drowsy and fall asleep. Limiting screen time in the evening hours, especially an hour or two before bedtime, can help limit blue light exposure and allow the body to naturally create melatonin, supporting more peaceful and restorative slumber.

Lifestyle-related Tips

  • Establish a regular sleeping schedule

Sleep disruptions are common among the elderly; they struggle to fall asleep and remain asleep through the night. Their sleep cycle is short, and they frequently wake up at night and nap during the day. To avoid this, keep a sleeping pattern and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Avoiding naps during the day can also be useful. Regular slumber patterns aid in the development of the body's natural sleep-wake cycle.

Regular Exercise For Better Sleep

  • Engage in regular exercise

Physical activity or exercise on a regular basis is the best way to stay healthy and fit while preventing disease. It helps to keep the body's systems and organs in good working order while aiding in the maintenance of the circadian clock. This helps to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increases the amount of deep slumber, and minimises the number of nightly awakenings. It can also improve overall slumber quality and help prevent sleep disorders.

It is important to note that exercising more than enough or required can harm rather than help so it is important to know when to exercise, how much to exercise and what intensity of exercise is good. Engaging in vigorous exercise too close to bedtime can actually have a negative effect, while moderate exercise earlier in the day can have a positive impact on slumber. Also for the elderly, it is important to engage in exercise that is appropriate for their age and fitness level. Low-impact exercises such as walking, jogging or yoga are often good options.

  • Stay active physically and mentally

People's physical and mental activities decrease as they age, and they stop participating in as many activities. This could be due to their health, aches and pains, decreasing stamina, or other factors. It may have an adverse effect on their slumber, therefore older people must keep themselves engaged, both cognitively and physically. They can stay physically active by participating in regular exercise, walking, and yoga, and for mental health by engaging in social activities, connecting with people, reading, and listening to music. Physical and mental health improvements can significantly improve sleep quality.

Staying active during the day tires the body and brain, making it easier to sleep at night. Social connection can also provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, reducing stress and anxiety while increasing overall well-being.

  • Limit daytime naps

Most elderly persons have difficulty sleeping at night and take 1 or 2-hour naps during the day. Daytime naps may revitalise them temporarily, but it has many harmful long-term consequences. It can further disturb this sleep cycle, resulting in poor night time sleep quality. As a result, it is advisable to avoid or restrict daytime naps, and to participate in some other activity to stay awake when feeling drowsy. Limiting daytime napping allows seniors to be more tired and ready to wind down at night, which can help them fall asleep more easily and enhance their sleep. It is important to note, however, that complete elimination of napping may not be necessary or advantageous for all seniors, since some may require daytime naps to compensate for inadequate night time sleep.

Limit Daytime Naps

  • Manage the diet

The diet of the elderly is often inconsistent; they are easily hungry and feel full even while eating less. They have difficulty digesting spicy, greasy, oily, and heavy foods because they induce indigestion, acidity, and other difficulties, as well as difficulty going to sleep. It can be avoided by eating a healthy diet and avoiding unhealthy and heavy foods and snacks. A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein can provide seniors with the nutrients they require to sleep soundly.

A hefty dinner before bedtime can also make it harder to sleep and create discomfort during the night. As a result, elderly adults should try to have their last meal of the day two to three hours before going to bed.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase alertness and disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle. It is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some medications. It can affect any aged person negatively but for older people, it could be more harmful, thus they should limit their caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.

On the other hand, alcohol may induce drowsiness and help them fall asleep faster. However, it can disrupt the later stages of sleep and cause fragmented sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Health-related Tips

  • Treat medical conditions

Many medical disorders can interfere with sleep, and addressing them can assist improve sleep quality in the elderly. Chronic pain, arthritis, heart disease, respiratory issues, and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are examples of these medical conditions. These diseases can induce discomfort, agony, worry, and bodily distress, making falling and staying asleep difficult. Getting correct medical therapy for these issues is therefore recommended for better sleep and general wellness.

Better Sleep

  • Manage chronic pain

At this stage of life, it is common to experience back pain, joint aches and chronic pain and it can affect day-to-day activities like walking, sitting, bending, lifting something, lying down and sleeping. Chronic pain can even increase upon waking up in the morning. The best way to manage chronic pain is to exercise, keep yourself active, take proper medical treatment, and buy best mattress. Doing so can improve sleep and overall health.

  • Medication side effects

Most elderly persons have one or two medical issues that necessitate adequate treatment and medicines. Certain medications contain chemicals or substances that can stimulate the mind, and impair sleep quality. So, if you are an aged person suffering from sleep problems, see a doctor and have your medications assessed for any side effects that may interfere with your slumber.


Sleep is an essential part of overall health and well-being and as we age, our sleep patterns and habits can change and in older age, we may experience poor quality and disrupted sleep. However, there are several steps that elders can take to improve their sleep quality and promote better health. Such as adopting healthy sleep habits, investing in quality mattresses and bedding, establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime. Additionally, making lifestyle changes, such as limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular physical activity, can also help seniors sleep better.

Finally, they should consult with a healthcare professional if they continue to experience difficulty sleeping despite making these changes or if they have any underlying medical conditions that may be affecting their sleep. By taking these steps, seniors can enjoy the benefits of a good night's sleep, including improved physical and mental health, increased energy, and better overall quality of life.

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