Three out of ten older adults do not get enough sleep. Ideally, your dad should get seven to eight hours of sleep for optimal health benefits, but it’s common for older adults to have a harder time falling asleep or staying asleep.
Your dad falls short and is only getting about five hours each night. How can you help your dad get a full night’s sleep? Here are some of the things that you can do.
Create a Nightly Routine
Create a routine that helps your dad settle in. He could have a warm bath in something soothing like lavender. Once he’s dried and in his pajamas, he can get a book or e-reader and settle into bed. Turn on a fan for white noise.
He can read until he’s tired. At that point, he turns out any lights he’s using and puts his book away. If he needs music playing, he can set a timer on a radio or smart speaker and have it play whatever helps him drift off. The fan will block out some of the nighttime sounds that might wake him up.
Avoid Drinks Before Bed
Your dad may want to drink a full glass of water before falling asleep to stay hydrated. While that will help with hydration, it will also lead to him waking up in the middle of the night with a full bladder.
It’s best to stick to sips of water as bedtime nears. He could keep a bottle of water on his nightstand and sip water if he needs it.
Eat a Few Hours Before Bed
Instead of having a heavy meal an hour or so before settling down for the night, your dad should aim for his final meal of the day to be a few hours before bed. He doesn’t want to lie down when his stomach is busy digesting the food he ate.
If he does lie down, there is the chance that some stomach acid will end up in his esophagus where it causes heartburn. That pain will keep him up.
Make Sure He’s Active
Is your dad settling down after lunch and taking a nap that spans several hours? That will impact his sleep at night. Instead of a long nap, he should aim for no more than 30 minutes. He should set alarms if needed.
Even better, he should get up and go for a walk to energize himself. It will help with digestion, lower stress, and provide exercise that’s necessary for his mental and physical health. If he’s uncomfortable walking alone, he can have a caregiver join him.
How do you keep your dad active all day when you’re not there? Arrange to have elder care aides there to spend time with him each day.
You can go to work and focus on your job duties and he’s with caregivers who will keep him active and make sure he eats, drinks enough water, and takes his medications on time.