5 Steps to Getting Your Best Night’s Rest in Your 50s, 60s, 70s and Beyond

| 3 min read

sleep well at any age
Have you recently gone from sleeping soundly all night long to tossing and turning? There’s a reason: As people get older, they tend to have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep (even though seniors need the same amount of sleep as other adults). This change could be due to a number of reasons such as medications, illnesses, stress over big changes in your life or adopting a more sedentary lifestyle.
And a lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel rundown – it can also impact your physical health. A good night’s sleep allows your body to repair cells that were damaged throughout the day and keeps your immune system strong. Aging adults who get more sleep also tend to be in a good mood and are able to think more clearly throughout the day. This might explain why aging adults who don’t get enough sleep are likelier to suffer from diseases like depression, memory loss, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and weight problems.
If you find yourself struggling to catch a good number of ZZZs, try a few of these tips:
  1. Set a regular bedtime. Sticking to a routine, even on weekends, will help your body get used to falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day. Life changes like retirement can often change your sleeping schedule. If you find yourself having trouble with this, set an alarm to go off when you need to start getting ready for bed in the evening.
  1. Fix yourself a light bedtime snack. A glass of warm milk can help you feel drowsy because it contains an amino acid that acts as a natural sedative. Milk is also a great source of calcium which helps increase the production of melatonin, a sleeping hormone in the body. Calcium can also help increase bone density in aging adults.
  1. Move your body. Exercising in the afternoon can greatly improve your sleep quality. Just 30 minutes of walking can also lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers in aging adults. Just be careful not to schedule your workouts within three hours of your bedtime—that can actually keep you awake longer.
  1. Talk to your doctor. A medication that you are regularly taking could be interrupting your sleep. Your doctor may be able to adjust your dosage time or even switch you to a different medication.
  1. Go outside. Getting outside is important because exposure to daylight helps regulate your sleep and wake cycle in your body. You can increase your time outside by choosing outdoor activities like walking, biking or even croquet.
What other techniques do you use to get a good night’s rest?
Photo credit: Jason Trbovich

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.