How Retirement Affects Sleep: Tips As You Get Older

Retirement is often seen as the one period in your life where you can sleep soundly at night without disturbances like stress and anxiety. You get to spend time with family and do what you love doing. However, there can be a myriad of factors that affect your sleeping habits when you retire. Learn how retirement affects sleep!

In a study led by the University of Sydney, 25,000 retired Australians spend as much as 11 minutes more when sleeping late every day. The sudden shift in the new hours can cause your body clock to mess up your sleep cycles.

These issue allows retirees to sleep often late at night and catch fatigue the next day. Staying hard awake in the morning can upset your daily activities and health as well. Here’s what you need to know about retirement and sleep.

Seniors watching show from laptop and can't sleep as retirement affects sleep

How retirement affects sleep

During a person’s employment years, they adhere to a regular waking schedule. This habit reinforces his or her daily patterns of sleep – including what time to sleep at night and wake up the next day.

But when you retire, you stop forcing yourself to wake up in a certain hour and go on waking up naturally. So, instead of waking up, like say, at 5AM consistently, you might lounge in bed until you feel like getting up.

If you have difficulty waking up, it might affect your ability to fall asleep at night.

For older people, their sleep quality may be different due to a lot of factors:

  • Aging
  • Health
  • Wakefulness
  • Senior stress
  • Sleeping hot
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restricted
  • lifestyle

People at 60 years old have frequent awakenings at night which leads to daytime fatigue and distress. They only need seven to eight hours of sleep, and extra time lounging in the bed can lead to insomnia.

The lack of eating nutritious food and exercising can further diminish sleep quality. If they’re taking substances, like alcohol and cigarettes, it may induce insomnia.

How to improve sleep among retirees

Changes in life can undermine sleep quality. Retirement affects sleep because it increases sleep duration. Depending on the lifestyle of the person, it can lessen or increase sleep difficulties. Even healthy people may be prone to sleep disturbances like premature awakenings. Those who lie away and sleep all day can whack their body clock.

If you’re looking for tips on how to improve sleep as a retiree, here are some points to remember:

Eat healthy foods

Munching on green leafy vegetables can give you the energy to tackle daily activities. Also, there are certain foods and healthy beverages that promote sleep.

  • Almonds and walnuts contain the hormone melatonin which regulates sleep and wake cycles
  • Lean protein like salmon and cottage cheese are packed with amino acids that increase serotonin levels to prevent insomnia
  • Chamomile tea creates a soothing and calming effect
  • Warm milk boosts amino acids and melatonin to improve sleep
  • Oatmeal induces drowsiness due to the high content of fiber and carbs

Stick to a regular sleep and wake schedule

Retirement affects sleep so aim for a consistent sleep schedule so your body clock won’t mess up. Try waking every morning at the same time even during weekends. Too much sleep for old retirees is linked with dementia and fatigue.

Avoid napping if you can

Now that you don’t work anymore, it makes easier to steal an afternoon nap. But, retirement affects sleep when snoozing in the afternoon can ruin your body clock and make it harder to sleep at night. If you need it so, keep it around 15 to 20 minutes.

Exercise

Even light to moderate exercise help keep you up during the day and boost sleep quality at night. A simple brisk walking for 20 minutes can already keep you in tip-top shape.

Shut electronics before going to bed

The blue light from the TV and other electronic devices can keep you awake at night by stimulating your brain. Why not meditate or take a shower before lying down? And instead of watching the telly, you can listen to music or read a book.


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