Creating a Better Sleep Environment
It is not uncommon for the elderly to struggle to get a good night’s sleep. While it can be due to health conditions or medication side effects, the sleeping environment can also cause it. New environments, like moving back home or downstairs because of difficulty climbing stairs, can be especially tough.
Whatever the reason may be, not getting a good night’s sleep can have physical, emotional, and mental health consequences. The body needs sleep to function properly. So addressing the problem with your loved one will help him sleep better and feel better.
Here are some areas of the bedroom to review and make changes if needed.
Does the bedroom stay too well-lit during the evening for your loved one to sleep well? Perhaps there’s an outside light that shines too brightly through the shades. Or it could be too dark. A night light might help your parent see if she needs to get up in the middle of the night.
You can’t do much about an outside light (unless it’s on your property). But you could install some heavy curtains that block out light. Your in-home care provider may help you get those curtains up and ready to help your parent sleep through the night.
Having a comfortable bed is paramount. Just because a mattress was comfortable 10 years ago doesn’t mean it still provides the support needed today. While your loved one might think the bed is fine, having a day trip with his in-home care provider to a local mattress store to see what’s all available in firmness, cushion and even temperature control might give him some ideas for how he might benefit from a new mattress.
Sheets that are scratchy or not the right weight might make sleeping well more difficult. Depending on your environment, you might want to have summer sheets that are nice and light, and winter sheets that are warmer, such as flannel sheets. When the temperature changes, have your in-home care provider help get the other sheets out of storage, washed, and ready to be put on the bed.
Don’t forget the pillows
Pillows are another part of a good night’s sleep that may have been fine at one time, but over the years, have lost their fluffiness or sturdiness. Whether your loved one prefers big, cushy pillows or firm, thin pillows, making sure his pillows provide the support he needs while he sleeps can prevent neck and back pain both while sleeping and while awake.
Some people want absolute quiet while they sleep, and some enjoy some ambient noise. Helping your loved one achieve what’s most desired by him will help him fall asleep and stay asleep.
Before you know it, your loved one will be sleeping better and feeling that renewed energy that can only come from a good night’s rest.