Sleep Disorders and Aging (cont.)
Self-Care at Home
Sleep hygiene refers to sleep-improving lifestyles and habits. Changing your lifestyle and habits improves many sleep problems; therefore, sleep disorder treatment begins with improved sleep hygiene.
- Maintain a regular wake-up time.
- Maintain a regular time to go to sleep.
- Avoid or decrease daytime naps.
- Exercise daily but not immediately before bedtime.
- Use the bed only for sleeping or sex.
- Do not read or watch television in bed.
- Do not use bedtime as worry time.
- Avoid heavy meals at bedtime.
- Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime.
- Maintain a routine period of preparation for bed, (for example, washing up and brushing teeth).
- Control the nighttime environment with comfortable temperature, quietness, and darkness.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to bed.
- If unable to sleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and perform a soothing activity, such as listening to soft music or reading, but avoid exposure to bright light during these times.
- Get adequate exposure to bright light during the day.
Overweight people who are habitual loud snorers may be helped by weight loss
. If you snore loudly, abstain from alcohol or sedatives before going to bed. You also should avoid sleeping on your back.
Avoid nonprescription, over-the-counter sleep aids. Examples are preparations that contain diphenhydramine
(Benadryl), such as Tylenol PM. Their side effects can be very profound in older people.
Carmel Armon, MD, MHS, MSc
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