Overcoming Elderly Sleep Problems: Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep


Elderly sleep problems can impact overall health and wellbeing if not addressed.

Getting a good night’s sleep is integral to overall health and wellbeing. But for many older adults, sleep can be elusive. It is recommended that all adults, including seniors, get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. There are a variety of factors that can interfere with the sleep of older adults including pain, illness, and medication side effects. Older adults who lack high-quality sleep can have memory issues, feel irritable and depressed, and be at higher risk for falls.

The good news is there are a variety of steps that can be taken to improve the quality of sleep and lessen fatigue for older adults, such as:

  • Develop a bedtime routine and regular sleep schedule. Schedule time each evening to relax before going to bed – soak in a warm tub, read a book, or listen to soothing music. Establish a regular time for going to bed and getting up each day, and stick to it on weekends and when traveling.
  • Avoid taking naps late in the day. While this may be challenging for a senior who is not getting enough sleep at night, try to refrain from napping. If a nap is necessary, take it early in the day and keep it as short as possible.
  • Maintain a comfortable bedroom temperature. The best sleeping environment is one that is quiet and not too cold or hot. If the senior is bothered by traffic noises or other household noises that cause him or her to wake up, consider a white noise machine or app that can help disguise other sounds that disrupt the sleep cycle.
  • Refrain from caffeine late in the day. Caffeine, found in beverages like soda, coffee and tea and in foods like chocolate, can impact the ability to fall asleep.
  • Minimize the use of electronic devices. The light from computer, tablet and cellphone screens can make it difficult to fall asleep. Watching shows, movies or the news that may feature disturbing or unsettling images or stories may also keep a senior awake.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps increase energy and improves overall health and wellness. Schedule time daily, but not within three hours of bedtime.

While implementing daily habits and routines to help encourage good, high-quality sleep are two parts to the equation, it’s also important to ensure the house is a restful and safe place to sleep. Be sure to:

  • Lock all outside doors and windows prior to bedtime
  • Use a nightlight or position a lamp near the bed that is easy to turn on
  • Refrain from smoking in bed and otherwise
  • Place a glass of water near the bed in case the senior wakes up thirsty
  • Keep a telephone with emergency phone numbers nearby
  • Remove area rugs and ensure there is a clear pathway from the bed to the bathroom

Sleep can also be impacted by certain medical conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder and REM sleep behavior disorder. These conditions can contribute to chronic fatigue and elderly sleep problems and should be addressed by a physician.

At Visiting Care Giving Services, a provider of home care in Chesterfield and nearby areas, our highly-trained care staff can help seniors get a good night’s sleep. From planning and preparing nutritious meals and encouraging frequent exercise to helping establish a regular schedule to keep older adults engaged in daily life and so much more, our team is here to help seniors maintain a routine that promotes sleep during the overnight hours. Offering 24/7 round-the-clock care, our team is also available to take the night shift to ensure the safety of a senior loved one so that family caregivers can get much-needed sleep and downtime.

To learn more about the many ways in which we can help seniors remain at home and independent, contact Visiting Care Giving Services today at (636) 493-9058 to schedule an in-home consultation and to find out more about our trusted home care services. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.