Getting older definitely has its perks. For example, you’re likely more comfortable in your own skin. You’ve probably learned not to let petty things bother you. You might even snag some nice discounts at your favorite restaurants and stores. But, as you age, your quality of sleep may begin to suffer. You may find yourself waking up periodically throughout the night, not being able to go to sleep when you want — or waking much earlier than you used to. If you’re not getting the quality sleep you desire, here are some ways you can make a change.
1. Consider Your Mattress
If your mattress is 10 years old or more, you may need to replace it. But don’t make a hasty purchasing decision. Instead, contact a mattress company like Muse Sleep, which offers a sleep personality quiz and a variety of mattresses to fit your preference. Just like many other mattress companies, you can try the mattress before you buy it. Try out your new mattress for 120 nights. If you don’t like it, you can return it — no hassles.
2. Avoid Napping During the Day
Whenever you start feeling that midmorning or midafternoon slump, don’t give in and take a nap. An hour or two nap during the day can cause you to not be able to go to sleep at your regular bedtime. Or it can cause you not to be able to sleep as restfully during the night. Instead, get up and take a brisk walk. Or do a few household chores. Turn on some lively music with a good beat to get you in the mood to stay active.
3. Spend Some Time in the Sun Each Day
Believe it or not, you need to spend some time in the sun each day — or your sleep patterns can suffer for it. When you expose yourself to natural light, physiological and chemical changes occur in the body that make you become more alert, such as a rise in body temperature and cortisol. In the evening, when the sun goes down, those changes occur again, making you more relaxed. Your body temperature drops and levels of melatonin — a sleep hormone — increase.
Regular exercise can be great for your health and help you expend pent-up energy that might keep you awake at night. However, for best results, set your exercise routine for earlier — rather than later — in the day. If it’s three hours or less before you plan to hit the hay, it’s likely too late to exercise.
5. Avoid Beverages Close to Bedtime
Drinking too much close to bedtime — alcohol or otherwise — can cause you to awaken to have to use the restroom. This can interrupt your sleep cycle. Plus, you could have trouble going back to sleep afterward. Cut off beverages several hours before bedtime to avoid having this issue.
6. Banish Electronics
About two hours before you actually go to sleep, stop using any electronic devices. Unfortunately, the blue light emitted by devices like tablets, computers and phones can interfere with the rate at which your body produces melatonin. The artificial light can make it harder for you to go to sleep and get quality sleep, which means that you’ll be less rested and refreshed the next day.
7. Associate the Bedroom with Restful Sleep
Try to associate the bedroom with restful sleep. So, avoid watching television or doing anything in the bedroom that would make it more difficult for you to go to sleep. If you do find yourself tossing and turning and unable to go to sleep or get back to sleep, don’t continue to stay in bed. Instead, get up and do something relaxing such as reading a book — not from a tablet — or listening to soothing music.
8. Try a Sleep App
While the use of an electronic device is discouraged if you want to get quality sleep, you can safely use a sleep app without having to be exposed to the light from the phone or tablet’s screen. Turn your phone or tablet on its face if the screen doesn’t automatically turn off after a brief period. Sleep apps use methods such as meditation or relaxation exercises to help you fall asleep within minutes. These type of apps can be found for free on the App Store or Google Play and can be very helpful if you find that you aren’t able to fall asleep easily.