Share this page

Email Facebook Twitter

10 tips for a tranquil sleep

Why am I so tired?

Feelings of sleeplessness and fatigue can become more common as we get older, but chiropractor Matthew Hodgson provides some expert tips to ensure you always get a good night’s rest.

Couple sleeping 1500x1000

For many of us, sleep tends to be lighter, harder to come by and more fragmented in our later years and around 60% of seniors report that they regularly have trouble sleeping. This can be attributed to a natural decrease in the body’s production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone, in addition to factors such as pain, chronic illness or frequent urination.

Regular, healthy sleep contributes to overall wellbeing in a number of ways:

  • Boosts metabolism and helps to keep excess weight off
  • Reduces confusion and cognitive disruption
  • Optimises the immune system so that it can fight off colds, flus and other bugs
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Increases energy

If you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep, try some of the following tips:

  • No screens

White light from screens delays the release of melatonin, so turn off the television, computer, iPad or phone at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.

  • Red light

On the other hand, red light simulates sunset and stimulates melatonin release, so try using a red light bulb or lampshade on your bedside lamp.

  • Wear socks

Cold extremities can limit circulation and impact your ability to sleep soundly, so be sure to rug up as the weather gets colder.

  • Almond butter

Mix up a knob of butter and some ground almonds and have a small amount on a biscuit before bedtime. The B vitamins and magnesium in the almonds help with sleep and the fats in the butter will help to regulate blood sugars.

  • Light exercise

Exercising for 10 minutes in the morning before breakfast will speed up your metabolism throughout the day and help you go to sleep at night.

  • Lavender oil

Try some aromatherapy by dabbing a little oil on your pressure points or spraying some on your pillow.

  • Listen to relaxing music

Many seniors find ocean sounds or whale noises to be incredibly soothing and there are plenty of great apps available that will play gentle sounds as you fall asleep (try Relax Melodies or White Noise)

  • Take a warm bath or shower before bed

Warm water relaxes your muscles and increases your body temperature – the resulting drop should induce a deep sleep.

  • Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is a tried and tested sleep aid with its anti-inflammatory and sedative properties.

  • Visit your local chiropractor

Regular chiropractor visits will help to decrease your stress hormones and the spinal adjustment will help to relax your muscles and promote proper nose breathing. Your chiropractor can also provide breathing exercises and recommendations for any diet or lifestyle changes that may help your situation.

 

If you still have trouble sleeping after about 15 minutes, don’t just lie in bed counting sheep! Try writing a journal entry, doing a crossword puzzle or performing some gentle stretches until you feel more tired.

While it may be frustrating to put so much effort into an activity that once came naturally, your body will eventually respond to routine (just like your kids did!) Keep committing to your nightly habits and don’t hesitate to contact your GP if the problem persists.

Dr Matthew Hodgson is a chiropractor at Platinum Chiropractic in Erina with a specific focus on the wellbeing of senior patients. You can contact him on (02) 4365 5055 or email matthodgson@netspace.net.au.


More in health & wellbeing

RetireAustralia Health Ambition 5 easy ways to stay active in retirement

5 easy ways to get active in retirement

Many people look forward to retirement as a period of rest, while others look for new ways to get active.

Read more
RetireAustralia Food - garlic tomatoes lettuce1

Essential foods for healthy ageing

Adapting your diet as you get older can lead to improved health and quality of life, according to dietitian Joel Feren.

Read more
RetireAustralia People - old and young lady looking at tablet

Tips to improve your memory

According to Dr Ryan Harvey, memory is like a muscle - "you need to exercise it to make it stronger". Learn how with these easy tips.

Read more

Find the retirement community that's exactly right for you