Older people seeking a good night's sleep: Don't nap for too long


Taking a longer nap during the day can make it harder to fall asleep in the evening - and lead to less sleep overall at night. Photo: Laurence BL/Unsplash

If you are older and start to feel tired after lunch, it can be tempting to lie down for a nap - especially if you had a bad night.

Try to go easy on the nap, though, and avoid sleeping for too long as that could leave you more wakeful during the night-time hours.

Sleeping problems can be particularly frustrating after you have reached retirement, when there's finally enough time to sleep in.

But as we age, our phases of deep sleep become shorter and our sleep becomes more prone to disturbance.

That leaves older people waking up more often during the night than in the past - even if they still need more than six hours' sleep a day - as we all do.

If you cannot skip your nap, then try to keep it to 20 minutes, says a German consumer group focussing on seniors, to ensure you get a restful night's sleep.

Taking a longer nap during the day can make it harder to fall asleep in the evening - and lead to less sleep overall at night.

Other tips for a better sleep include ensuring you take a walk in the fresh air during the day.

All that daylight will help regulate your circadian rhythm.

Meanwhile, if you ensure you have a full day doing things you like and are in touch with people, you should find it easier to drop off and stay asleep.

So even if you feel tired or did not sleep well during the night, do try and stay active, as withdrawing from others and activities may make sleeping harder, and harm your general well-being.

Other helpful tips for a better night's sleep include going to bed at the same time each night, introducing bedtime rituals and making sure your sleeping environment is pleasant, and sufficiently dark. - dpa

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