Natural Sleep Remedies for Elderly
There is nothing worse than having a rough night’s sleep and then having to go about your day afterward. I would know, too. I’ve had periods in my life when I was suffering from insomnia, and it was hard to manage. It’s not fun being exhausted all of the time. Fortunately, there are some great natural sleep remedies for elderly and older adults that can work well to improve your sleep.
Causes of Insomnia and Sleep Troubles
One of the best ways to manage your insomnia or trouble sleeping is to figure out the root cause. However, that can be easier said than done. There are a ton of different causes of sleep problems. On top of that, some people experience multiple causes behind their insomnia. So, what causes sleep problems?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are quite a few common causes of insomnia that have nothing to do with other health problems. Those are:
- A change in your schedule (i.e. work or travel changes)
- Poor sleep habits
- Eating too late at night
On top of these causes, there is the age factor to consider as well. The older we get the more often we encounter insomnia and trouble sleeping. As we age, we are more likely to wake up from external factors, like light and noise. We are also more likely to not sleep as well if we are being less physically active or if we have had changes in our health. Those health changes could range from pain conditions, like arthritis, to mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety. If we are introduced to a new medication, that could also affect our ability to sleep.
How to Tell If You’re Suffering From Insomnia
Insomnia is fairly easy to detect. You are likely suffering from insomnia if you have a lot of trouble falling asleep at night, if you wake up constantly throughout the night, or if you wake up too early in the morning. Other indicators of insomnia are things like not feeling well-rested when you wake up in the morning or getting tired throughout the day. Some other symptoms of insomnia are having trouble paying attention or remembering things, irritability, depression, or anxiety.
Fortunately, you do not need to live with your insomnia. There are plenty of natural ways to help improve your sleep so that you can feel better and function better throughout your day.
Before we dive into natural sleep remedies, we will discuss some lifestyle changes you can make that might help you sleep better at night. These include the mattress and pillowcases you use.
We've all grown up with cotton pillowcases, but there are some downfalls to this material: it easily collects bacteria and is harsh on your skin. In fact, cotton pillowcases can cause excess facial inflammation. This might be uncomfortable and may lead you to not sleeping well at night.
Enter silk pillowcases. You might wonder: "Is there really that much of a difference? Are they really better than cotton?" Yes. Not only are they better for your skin and hair because they are anti-bacterial, but they also stay cool and help moderate your temperature, potentially helping you get more rest.
We recommend Blissy. Blissy's mission is to help people achieve a good night's sleep. While these pillowcases are more expensive than their cotton counterparts, this is an essential investment in your health. They offer a variety of colors and options, so you can find something that goes with your bedding.
You may not realize how uncomfortable your mattress is, but if you are unable to get a proper night's sleep, your body may be trying to send you a message. If you toss and turn at night or wake up stiff and achy, it might be a good idea to look for a better mattress.
We know that mattress shopping can be a hassle, but did you know you can get one delivered right to your door? People swear by the brands Casper, Douglas or Ghostbed. On top of mattresses, these brands also deliver accessories, bed frames and pillows.
Casper offers free, no-contact delivery, and both Casper and Ghostbed offer a free trial. So, if after 100 nights you don't notice a beneficial impact on your sleep, you can return it.
More people are leaning toward these brands because they say they are more comfortable than your run-of-the-mill mattress. Here is a review from Casper's website: "Extremely comfortable sleep, I no longer toss and turn at night and wake up with no muscle aches!"
So, it might be worth it to switch up your mattress!
Natural Sleep Remedies for Elderly and Seniors
Below you will find seven different natural sleep remedies that work great for seniors. These different remedies vary and can significantly improve not only your sleep but your quality of life too.
1. Chamomile Tea
This is probably one of the most referred to natural remedies for sleep and it is a nice way to end your day. Chamomile contains a natural antioxidant that helps the body relax and makes it easier to fall asleep. You can purchase chamomile tea from any grocery store and simply drink it before bed. However, there are two catches, one is that drinking it so close to bedtime may wake you up in the night to pee. The other is that there has been no scientific evidence that chamomile tea works for those with chronic insomnia.
This is another popular natural remedy for helping to improve sleep at night. It is most frequently taken in pill form but can also come in liquids or chewables. Melatonin is the naturally occurring chemical released by the pineal gland in your brain. This gland helps to tell your body it is time to sleep and also helps to deepen your sleep through the night. Melatonin can be bought at any drugstore.
This is a plant from the pacific islands that has been historically used as a ritual drink. It is very bitter and can help to reduce anxiety and induce sleep. According to the National Institute for Health, Kava helps to influence the GABA receptor in the brain. You can drink a small amount 10 minutes before bed to help with sleep. However, kava has been linked to liver issues and as a senior you should consult your doctor before using it.
4. Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD
This is my personal favorite way to help my insomnia. CBD also known as cannabidiol was legalized in the U.S. in 2018 and has proven benefits for helping to improve sleep. A large case series published in The Permanante Journal found that CBD significantly improved sleep quality in 66.7% of participants in the first month. You can take CBD in a liquid or capsule form around an hour before bed.
5. Increasing Your Physical Activity
This can also help to improve your ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. In fact, it only takes about 30 minutes of physical activity to show significant improvement in your sleep. You can do whatever physical activity you like but be sure to do it at least two hours before bed so that your body temperature can decrease, and your endorphin levels go back to a normal amount.
6. Reduce Your Exposure to Blue Light
Blue light is probably the number one cause of poor sleep these days. Blue light is the light that comes from the screens of your electronics. This light has been scientifically proven to reduce the amount of natural melatonin your body produces. To help you sleep better you should avoid looking at screens at least two hours before bed. If this is not possible, then there are products like blue light blocking glasses you can wear throughout the day to help you sleep better at night.
7. Floatation Therapy
Also known as sensory deprivation, this is linked to improving the sleep quality of anyone suffering from insomnia. Float therapy involves laying in an enclosed tank that has shallow water mixed with roughly 800 pounds of magnesium epsom salts. The salt makes the water incredibly buoyant so when you lay back your whole body floats. Science Direct published a study where professional athletes found that float therapy improved their sleep quality throughout the trial.
As a senior, you will probably see that floatation therapy offers more benefits in your life than just improving your sleep. Floating has been linked to helping those with chronic pain, arthritis, decreasing inflammation in the body, and so many more things. You can use a float tank at any time of day to help with your sleep at night. It is often recommended to try to float once a week to improve your quality of sleep. Float centers can be found in many different cities and more will surely be opening up as floating becomes more popular.