Many older people find it harder to sleep in the summer. The daylight hours are long, and the weather is often warm, even at night. So, we’ve put together some summer sleep tips to help you stay well-rested in the warmer months.

Why older people may have trouble sleeping

As we age, our sleeping patterns can change. Many older people become sleepy earlier in the evening, wake up earlier in the morning and sleep less soundly. This can be exacerbated during hot weather as it can be even more difficult to sleep when nights are warm.

Here are some summer sleep tips to help you get a good night’s rest

Keep the bedroom cool and dark

Keeping the bedroom cool makes a real difference to how well we sleep. Close bedroom windows and blinds during the day to keep out the glare of the sun and prevent the room from heating up too much. Blackout blinds or curtains can help keep the room cool as well as reducing early waking due to the bright mornings.

Be active during the day

Some elderly people may struggle to sleep because their body clocks have become disrupted or because they spend a lot of time sitting down or resting during the day. Getting out and about in daylight can help you sleep better at night because it re-sets your body clock. Activity can also help you to be more tired at night, helping sleep come more easily. If you have mobility issues, you could try chair exercises. You can ask your carer or physiotherapist for advice on what exercises may be suitable.

Stay hydrated

Many older people avoid drinking too much in the evening for fear that they will need to get up often to use the toilet. However, dehydration can make it even more difficult to get a good night’s rest. Try to drink plenty of fluids during the day and into the early evening.

Keep your bedroom for sleeping

Wherever possible you should keep your bedroom for nighttime sleeping only. Get out of your bedroom during the day and spend time in a different room. Take naps in a chair or on a sofa if you can. This helps your brain associate your bedroom with sleep and may make it easier for you to nod off at night.

Take a shower or bath before bed

A tepid shower or bath can cool you down in the evening making sleep come more easily. It can also be a relaxing part of your bedtime routine.

Layer bedding

Older people can easily become too warm or too cold. To help ensure you stay at a comfortable temperature at night, choose a lightweight duvet for summer months and use a throw or blanket for additional warmth when needed. This makes it easy to adjust your bedding depending on how warm the night is. Have a sheet handy for those particularly sultry nights when you don’t need a duvet at all. Choose cotton bedding and nightwear to keep you cool and comfortable.

Stick to a routine

Having a regular bedtime routine can help you get a better night’s sleep. Your mind gets used to the routine and this becomes a cue that it is time for sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time in the morning. Follow the same routine each night, such as a bath or shower followed by a warm drink.

Don’t nap late in the day

If you are in the routine of napping during the day then that is fine. However, if you are having trouble getting off to sleep, avoid napping later in the afternoon and keep naps short.

Get a health check

If you are struggling to sleep regularly then speak to your doctor or other health professional. Occasionally insomnia can be a sign of an underlying health condition. Alternatively, it might be caused by certain medications.

How a live-in carer can help you sleep better

If you are having trouble sleeping there are lots that your live-in carer can do to help. From providing fresh, clean bedding appropriate to the season to running a tepid bath for you in the evening.

Live-in carers can also help you get out and about in the day to enjoy some daylight and activity that will help with sleep. They can provide cold drinks and light foods to help you feel cool and stay hydrated. They can also help keep rooms cool by adjusting blinds and windows and taking fans to where they are needed. Your live-in carer will also keep an eye on your general health and wellbeing to make sure you are not suffering heat exhaustion.

We hope you find these summer sleep tips helpful.

Mumby’s Live-in Carers are here to help your loved one

At Mumby’s, we provide live-in care tailored to the individual so you can live as independent and fulfilling a life as possible.

If you are considering live-in care and you would like to talk about it in more detail, our friendly and knowledgeable staff are here to help and answer all of your questions. Please call us on freephone 0800 505 3511, contact us, or email info@mumbys.com.

Useful Links

Sun Safety Tips for Seniors

How to Promote the Wellbeing of Elderly through Live-in Care

Dehydration in elderly people, an age-old problem

7 Ways to stay active as we get older

Nutrition for the elderly – eating well as we age