Published on October 24, 2018

Tips for a better night’s sleep

Sometimes a good night’s sleep is only in your dreams.

Senior woman awake“Sleep patterns change as you add years,” says A. David Mingle, MD, Mercy LIFE physician. It’s typically harder to nod off.” You also spend less time in deep dreamless sleep, which means you probably wake up more.

But what doesn’t change as you get older is your need for a good night’s rest.

“To stay healthy—and alert the next day—you still need the same seven to nine hours of sleep every night,” Dr. Mingle says.

To get the sleep you need, try these tips:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends. 
  • Be active. Exercise can prime your body for sleep, as long as it’s not within three hours of your bedtime.
  • Relax with a routine before tucking in. You might try reading or listening to soothing music.
  • Steer clear of sleep stealers. Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and heavy evening meals all disturb sleep. And if you’re having trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Turn off electronics. Try not to watch TV or use a computer, cellphone or tablet in your bedroom. The light they emit can make it hard to drift off to sleep.

If steps like these don’t help, talk to your doctor. He or she may have some more suggestions that can help you enjoy better slumber.