Easy Exercises for Better Sleep for Seniors

Sleeping tends to get more challenging as you age. Of course, this does not stand right for all seniors. But having difficulty sleeping and the overall decreasing quality of sleep is a prevalent matter among the seniors. Even if we put aside the biological changes of the body as it gets older, there are still some very valid reasons for having difficulty falling asleep as a senior psychologically. Some of these reasons may include financial and emotional problems, the sense of isolation, the most common diseases of the elderly that affect their physical and mental health, and many more. This article will introduce some exercises and activities that might help you sleep better and sooner.

What Are Some Activities That Help Me Sleep Better?

After eating evening snacks, most seniors feel tired and feel like having a nap. The problem is, if you take a nap at such a late hour, you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night easily. Some daily activities replacing them with an evening nap prevent your night sleep from getting disturbed and significantly affect your sleep quality. These activities include:

Stretching

Having a short stretching routine at night helps you to sleep faster and better. The routine should be just easy enough that you feel sleepy. Hence make sure you do not try any moves that push your limits. 

Walking

Taking a walk helps you gain a more natural sleep pattern. Also, when you walk in the morning, your body receives the sleeping signals better in the evening.

Dancing

Dancing improves coordination, balance, and muscle memory. Hence it is the perfect activity for the evenings since it can help you sleep better at night.

Exercising

The best thing to do is schedule your daytime and devote a specific time to working out. To get the most out of exercising, you should know the best workout time for seniors. Also, one of the benefits of post-workout massage is that it helps you relax your muscles after exercising. Therefore, it can be beneficial to a comfortable night.

A Healthy Diet

The food you have during the day affects your sleeping quality. The best diet for a positive effect on sleep quality is a low-carb and high-fat diet. There are foods to help seniors sleep, so it is best to include them in your diet. The best time to eat dinner is to not go to bed for at least four more hours.

Exercises for better Sleep for Seniors

What Exercises Can I Do to Fall Asleep Faster?

The real question is: can you train yourself to fall asleep faster? Your body and brain are both super easy to trick into falling asleep. All you need to do is train yourself to do some exercises before going to bed, or in some cases, in the daytime so that you can fall asleep faster.

When it comes to having a good sleep, the primary obstacle is the inability to fall asleep. We are going to go over some breathing exercises that can help you fall asleep more quickly.

1. Meditation

Try for a very brief meditation session before going to sleep. To do this, sit straight with your legs crossed, and lean your head slightly forward. Take deep breaths. And generally, increase the length of your inhales. In a series of deep breaths, wait from one to five seconds before you breathe out. When you reach the five-second inhale, start over from one second. This pattern focuses your mind on breathing rather than restless thoughts and stressful daily events. Keep up with this exercise for ten minutes.

2. Breathing Through Your Mouth

Have you ever noticed that you pant when you’re excited? This pant is because breathing through your nose is more relaxing than through your mouth. In this exercise, you block one of your nostrils with your finger and breathe through the other. After this, you block the other nostril and breathe out through the other one. This breathing control technique is one of Yoga’s basic techniques and generally refers to Nadi Shodhana.

3. The Military Method

In this method, you relax all the muscles of your face, legs, thighs, calves, and shoulders. You then exhale deeply and try to think of nothing but relaxing thoughts. If you think it is not working, you can repeat “don’t think” until you fall asleep. This method refers military method because pilots and soldiers have used this method and found it efficient.

Exercises for better Sleep for Seniors

4. Visualized Breathing

One other exercise that helps you get your mind off things easier is to visualize the process of breathing as you breathe. For example, when you inhale, try to imagine the air that goes in through your nostrils. Imagine how it travels through your body, visits every corner, and then heads back to the world outside you as you breathe it out.

5. 4-7-8 Breathing Method

For this exercise, the tip of your tongue should be in contact with the tissues behind your front teeth. When you exhale, you will make a gentle “woosh’ sound. After this step, you close your mouth and inhale through your nose and count to four. Hold your breath while you count to seven in your mind. And when you exhale, you should count to eight. This method is called 4-7-8 breathing.

6. Extensive Breathing

Your body breathes faster to receive a larger amount of air when it is stressed. Your body also gets fooled easily. Hence when you breathe slowly, it gets tricked into settling for a more relaxed position. Breathe in and count to three, breathe out and count to Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. The numbers are actually up to you. But it would be best if you exhaled for a relatively longer time than you inhale. Take your time. This exercise helps you reset your autonomic nervous system.

7. Humming Bee Sound Effect

In this exercise, which may sound cooler and more fun than the other exercises, you are supposed to create a buzzing sound that resembles the humming of a bee. Take a deep breath, get the air in, and then start to breathe out slowly and make a humming sound. You can close your ears with the help of your index fingers. This method enhances the buzzing effect. 

Exercises for better Sleep for Seniors

Hence as it turns out, how you sleep and when you sleep are totally under your control. All you need to do is have a fixed sleeping schedule and the energy to do the activities and exercises that help you. Taking a warm bath, reading and writing in bed, listening to music, turning off all electronic devices, and not taking naps during the day are helpful for seniors who want to sleep peacefully. If you follow the sleep tips for seniors and try to use them in your life, soon, you will have no problem sleeping.

Read more: How to stop snoring?

Use this article only as educational material. You must consult your doctor and/or specialist prior to using it. Read more about this disclaimer.

Source Tuck Home Care Assistance healthline
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Davis
Davis
4 months ago

I don’t think exercise can magically put you to sleep. If you want to sleep at night, don’t eat heavy meals at night and do not drink coffee, it’s that simple. But exercise, I don’t think so. If anything, it makes you more active, raises the heart rate and, consequently, insomnia. Drinking a cup of warm milk or chamomile tea can help you to sleep better, not exercise.

Matthew
Matthew
3 months ago

When I first read about the humming bee exercise, I really didn’t think it would work. I mean, obviously, you’re just making noises. I thought it could be even more disruptive. But it is very effective for me and has helped me fall asleep faster many times.

Elijah
Elijah
Reply to  Matthew
3 months ago

Is that really effective? Sounds weird!

Rose
Rose
3 months ago

Weird, it never occurred to me that falling asleep would need any form of exercise and practice. But now that I’m thinking about it again, it sounds logical. I’m going to try the given suggestions in this article and see if they work for real. I hope they are effective because these days going to sleep is very hard for me.

Jackson
Jackson
1 month ago

After reading this article, I’ve tried meditation before sleeping, and the result is impressive. Now I almost have no problem with sleeping. It is a great way to have a deep sleep.