| Thu, Mar 06, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

5 Tips That May Help You Sleep Better

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

trouble sleepingA good night’s sleep can make a big difference in how you feel. Sleep helps your body rest and restores your energy. Without enough sleep, you may be grumpy and irritable. In addition, the National Institute on Aging says that older adults who sleep poorly at night may be more likely to have:

  • Attention and memory problems
  • A depressed mood
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness

Here are 5 tips that may help improve your sleep.

1. Follow a regular sleep schedule.

Go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day, even on weekends. A regular sleep schedule helps keep you in sync with your body’s internal clock, a 24-hour rhythm affected by sunlight. Also, try not to nap too much during the day—especially after 3:00 in the afternoon. Napping may make you less sleepy at night.

2. Try to be physically active.

Being physically active during the day may improve the quality of nighttime sleep. You may sleep more soundly, for example. Kill two birds with one stone by going outside for your activity. Exposure to daylight helps support the body’s natural sleep/wake rhythm. You may also get a good dose of vitamin D from the sun.

3. Be thoughtful about what you eat and drink.

Avoid beverages with caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and may keep you awake. Also, don’t drink alcohol to help you sleep. Even a small amount of alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep. If you like a little something before bed, try a warm decaffeinated beverage and a few crackers.

4. Don’t toss and turn.

Once you are in bed and the light is off, give yourself 15-20 minutes to fall asleep. If you remain awake, get out of bed and do a quiet activity, like listening to soft music. When you feel sleepy, go back to bed. Repeat the process if you need to. The point is to not stay in bed worrying because you can’t get to sleep.

5. Create a comfortable sleeping environment.

Make your bedroom an oasis that helps you feel calm and relaxed. Your mattress and pillow should be comfortable and supportive of your preferred sleeping position. Use bedding that feels welcoming—even luxurious—to you. Your bed should be a place that you look forward to being. Keep the room at a pleasant temperature for sleeping—a cooler room may help promote sleep.

When to Call Your Doctor

Some people continue to have trouble sleeping no matter what they do. Tell your doctor if you find that you are tired during the day and feel that you don’t sleep well, especially if this lasts for more than two weeks.

You may want to record your sleep habits and times for a week or so before seeing your doctor. This can help you remember and communicate what you experienced.

It may help to have your sleeping partner participate in the conversation with your doctor. You may have lapses in your breathing or other symptoms during sleep that you are unaware of. Medicare covers certain tests and treatments for sleep disorders, so it’s important to have all the information that can help your doctor understand your situation.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


NIH Senior Health: Get health and wellness information for older adults.

Medicare & You: Get the U.S. government’s official Medicare handbook.

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