Sleep and good health connected

By Monica Cissell | February 1, 2024

Sleep is as essential to good health as diet and exercise. Lack of sleep can raise the risk of disease and disorders and can impact cognitive functioning. But experiencing good sleep can become more difficult as we age. Understanding the importance of sleep and learning tips for better sleep may help you stay healthier and have better brain performance.

Check out these tips:.

• Stick to a sleep schedule. Regular bedtime and wake- up routines are important.

• Get some exercise every day. But don’t engage in strenuous exercise right before bed.

Go outside. Prioritize getting outside and being in the natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes every day.

• Avoid nicotine and caffeine. These stimulants can hinder sleep quality. 

• Don’t take naps after mid-afternoon. Keep naps short — 20-30 minutes is the ideal length to help you feel refreshed and avoid falling into a deep sleep.

• Avoid alcohol and large meals before bedtime. Deep, restorative sleep can be hindered by both.

• Limit electronics before bed. Reading, listening to music, stretches or meditation are all more calming options.

• Create a good sleeping environment. Cool temperature,.Decrease light distractions and phone interruptions to set your environment. Silence your cell phone.

• Don’t lie in bed awake. If 20 minutes has passed and you can’t fall asleep, try a relaxing activity such as yoga, meditation or journaling your thoughts to calm the mind.

• See your health care provider if nothing you try helps. Addressing sleep issues such as sleep apnea and insomnia can help and provide you better quality sleep.

Adults over 60 need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. There are many reasons aolder adults may not be able to sleep, such as some medications, pain and feeling sick. If you feel tired and unable to do your normal activities for two to three weeks, call your doctor. 

Central Plains Area Agency on Aging is here to help. Call 855-200-2372 for information on services and programs available to older adults and caregivers. 

Monica Cissell is director of information and community services for CPAAA.