An Aging Adult's Guide On How To Fall Asleep Quickly

aging adult guide how to fall asleep quickly improve sleeping quality

For most younger adults, they understand why they struggle with getting to sleep. Maybe it's stress from work or family. Maybe they don't get in enough exercise, which leaves their brain tired and body wired at the end of the day. 

Struggling for sleep proves a more widespread problem for aging adults. Around 50% of aging adults report problems getting to or staying asleep. While everyone should expect some changes in their sleep pattern over time, a night of solid sleep remains crucial for your health. So, if you wonder how to fall asleep quickly, keep reading. We'll give you some info on why it's a struggle and how you can fall asleep faster. 

Why Falling Asleep Gets More Difficult 

Struggles with sleep as you age stems from many sources. A disrupted sleep cycle is a common one. 

So, what's a disrupted sleep cycle? How does that relate to how to fall asleep easily? 

A disrupted sleep cycle happens when you stray off of the routine of sleeping at night. For example, you get tired early and head to bed. Then, you wake up very early the next day. 

By mid-afternoon, you feel tired and grab a nap. Doing that once is not a problem. Taking one or more naps every day confuses your body. 

Instead of prepping you for sleep at night, your body thinks that sleep should happen at all hours. That makes dropping off tough. 

Other common causes include: 

• Pre-bedtime caffeine 
• Medications 
• Chronic pain 
• Anxiety 
• Smoking 
• Stress 

Put any of those in combination and it's a sleep killer. So, what can you do? 

Make Your Bedroom A Sleep-Only (Mostly) Zone 

A lot of things can make your brain more active. Equally relevant, the brain builds habits. 

Activities like reading and watching television keep the brain active. If you do these things in bed, it teaches the brain to stay active when you lay in bed. Take the TV out of your bedroom and do your reading out in the living room. 

By keeping the bedroom a place you use exclusively for sleep and sex, you retrain your brain to associate going to bed with going to sleep. 

It turns out that certain kinds of light can also keep your brain active. The main culprit is blue light, which you get from things like computer and phone screens. While most people won't leave their phones in the other room, you should put it face down at night. 

Poor mattress quality often creates some mild discomfort that can make sleep hard to attain for seniors. Picking the right mattress can help. You can check out more info here. 

Create Routines And Keep Them 

Not all habits are bad things. A habit of eating healthy benefits you, for example. 

You can use the brain's habit-forming ability to make getting to sleep easier for you. Building routines and keeping them sits at the heart of it. 

Choose a bedtime and wakeup time for yourself. Then, stick with those times unless it's unavoidable. If your head hits the pillow at the same time each night, the brain will associate that with falling asleep. 

You can take it back a step and create pre-bedtime rituals. For example, you might make a point to brush your teeth, wash your face, and put on pajamas. Doing this every night before bed cues your brain that it's almost time for sleep. 

Watch What You Drink 

Drinks like coffee and alcohol have a place in people's lives. Coffee in the morning and throughout the day can offer you a much-needed pick-me-up. The catch is that caffeine hangs out in your body for hours after you drink it. Say you have a cup of coffee at 7 pm. You might not feel wired at 10 pm, but that caffeine will still be ramping up your nervous system a little. If you already struggle with sleep, even a little extra nervous system activity can keep you up. Alcohol may seem like the solution for sleep problems. Unfortunately, it's a false solution. 

Alcohol will make you feel tired, but it's artificial tiredness. When your body processes the alcohol out, you'll often wake up. Alcohol also interferes with REM sleep. That combo of limited REM sleep and waking up can leave you feeling more tired the next day. 

Stay Active 

Many types of exercise become less practical as you age. For example, running can grow increasingly difficult on the joints. Nonetheless, your body still needs regular activity. 

Regular exercise helps counteract many things that impair sleep, such as stress, high blood pressure, and even depression. 

Fortunately, there are a lot of low-impact exercise options available. Some of the more popular options include: 

• Daily walks 
• Swimming 
• Yoga 
• Cycling 
• Ellipticals 

If you like it, gardening can often substitute in for an exercise routine. 

Eat Right 

While exercise remains a crucial element in overall health, proper diet contributes a lot to weight control. Maintaining a healthy body weight helps you avoid things that diminish sleep quality. 

For example, obesity has links with sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and heart disease. All things that make it tough for you to get to sleep, stay asleep, or get quality sleep. 

A healthy diet also gives you the things you need for healing and energy for regular activity. 

How To Fall Asleep Quickly? It Takes Several Things 

No one act or behavior will answer the problem of how to fall asleep quickly. Unless you know exactly what makes falling asleep hard for you, you must address all of the most common culprits. 

You must create routines that help train your brain into prepping for sleep and then falling asleep. Remove brain-activating things from your bedroom, such as TVs and reading materials. Limit blue light sources in your bedroom. 

Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as you approach bedtime. Eat healthily and get some regular exercise. Odds are good that this combination will improve your sleep and make falling asleep easier. 

Looking for more health-related information? Check out the posts in our Healthcare and Frugal Fitness sections on this site.