How to Improve Your Sleep (Without Medication)

Physical, mental, and social changes that naturally develop with age can make it hard to get the rest you need. Everything from medications to failing eyesight can interfere with your body’s sleep-wake cycle. Despite these challenges, there are many effective ways to improve your sleep quality without adding another medication to your list.



Start with Healthy Sleep Habits


One of the best places to start is your sleep habits. While these habits and behaviors may not fix all of your sleep problems, they give your mind and body ample opportunity for fall and stay asleep.



  • Consistent Bed and Wake-Up Time: Your body loves consistency. By going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, you let your body adjust to your preferred schedule. Over time, the body will automatically start releasing sleep hormones at the appropriate time.
  • Bedtime Routine: A regular pattern of activities before bed serves an important purpose. One – a familiar routine helps the brain recognize when to release sleep hormones. Two – it’s gives you an opportunity to relieve stress and tension before bed. A routine does not need to be complicated or long but should include activities that leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
  • Avoid Screens Before Bed: Televisions and other electronic devices can give off a bright blue light that suppresses sleep hormones. Try shutting them off two to three hours before bed to keep your body on schedule.


If after working on your sleep habits you find you’re still struggling, you might need to consult a physician to look for an underlying sleep disorder. Sometimes better sleep comes through something as simple as an anti-snoring device, mouthguard, or therapeutic pillow.



When You Need More Than Healthy Habits


While many people will notice an improvement in their sleep when they use good sleep habits, others may find they need more of an intervention. A few to consider:



  • Mindfulness Meditation: Meditation acts as a stress management tool. Many older adults experience stress due to the loss of a loved one, changes in living situation, or financial concerns. To get the rest you need, you have to be able to put stress aside for a time, and that’s where mindfulness meditation comes in. This type of meditation focuses on the present while allowing thoughts of the past and future to pass through without lingering. Over time, this “present” focus changes the structure of the brain by strengthening the connection between the emotional center of the brain and the logic/reasoning center. The overall effect is less stress and, oftentimes, better sleep.
  • Bright Light Therapy: Natural light helps set and trigger the sleep-wake cycle. As eyes age, less light becomes available to stimulate the brain, and the sleep cycle may become irregular. Light therapy requires direct daily exposure to light bulbs that simulate natural sunlight. Bright light therapy maximizes light exposure in the morning to help reset the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Sleep Restriction: This method uses changes in sleep timing to increase tiredness at night. You would first stay up later than normal, wake up at a regular time, but then stay awake all day, no naps. The next day you follow the same pattern. The theory is that as you get more tired, it gets easier to fall and stay asleep. This method has rules like, if you’re awake, you don’t stay in bed longer than 20 minutes and you don’t get in bed until you’re tired. It’s a process to retrain your body to sleep.



A combination of good sleep habits and interventions based on your unique sleep challenges can help you get the rest you need. With better sleep, you’ll be physically and mentally at your best and ready to live the life you want.



Stress Relief Photo: Urban Oasis

Caregivers provide companionship and caregiving to seniors, and must remember to "care for the caregiver." We thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. This week's stress relief photo was taken near Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois. It is a beautiful oasis in the center of the hustle and bustle of the city. We invite you to take a moment to enjoy the photo and the inspirational quote and share them with loved ones. We hope you have a great week


"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."
-Anne Frank

App of the Week for Caregiver Stress: Calm

Calm is the #1 app for meditation. It is designed to help with relaxation and meditation. It has an array of features including meditation, guided breathing, help with sleep and relaxation scenes and techniques. Being a caregiver is very rewarding but it can also be extremely stressful. Make time to focus on yourself, this app can help! 

You can also follow our social media platforms to see our stress relief photo every week! Follow us on instagram, twitter and facebook!

America is Running out of Caregivers

As the aging population grows, so does the lack of caregivers. For many generations Americans have relied on family to provide care in older age but today many are growing older without family nearby. The numbers of people reaching retirement age are increasing and many don't have a family member to take care of them.

An estimate of 34.2 million people are providing unpaid care to an elderly person, and each day the demand for caregivers increases. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, 'demand for private home health aides
is expected to exceed supply by more than three million in the next decade.' 

There is also the issue of public support, government programs only cover a fraction of the costs of long-term care. More adults are also reaching retirement single and having had no children. 

If you want to become a caregiver visit caregiverlist.com to learn more. If you or a loved one need care you can submit a form so we can help you connect with the care you need.

To learn more about the shortage of caregivers, read the Wall Street Journal article


Stress Relief Photo: Nordic Summer

This week's stress relief photo was taken during the summertime in Iceland. Even in a country known for its icy and volcanic terrain, there are areas that are lush and green in the summer. Please enjoy and feel free to share the photo and inspirational quote with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Senior care training assists caregivers to better manage a senior's care needs and manage caregiver stress. We hope have a great week.


"Beneath all old sayings lies the truth." 
-Icelandic Proverb

A Record Number of People Aged 85 and Older are Working

A record number of seniors aged 85 year or older are working in America. Since 2006 this number has grown from 2.6% to 4.4%, its the highest number in record. As life expectancy grows, retirements plans shrink and education levels rise people are working until later in life. They usually work in fields that demand less physical work, like management positions and sales. 

This number is steadily rising, and statistics also show that this segment is working mostly full time jobs instead of part time jobs. Other popular jobs among this age group are ranchers, farmers, crossing guards and even truckers. Staying active is important at that age, you can read more about ways to staying active and social for seniors here

To learn more about the increase in people aged 85 or older working, read more here.


Oceanfront Calm: Stress Relief Photo

The beach is known as a relaxing place, but it is especially so when you have it all to yourself. This week's stress relief photo was taken in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, just as a new day was beginning. Caregiverlist invites you to enjoy the photo and share it with loved ones. At Caregiverlist we know the realities of caregiver stress. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and caring for our seniors. Please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools. We hope you have a great week.


"Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean."
-Christopher Reeve

The Link between Alzheimer's and Sugar


Alzheimer's disease affects many, every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops it.  A recent study was published by the journal Diabetologia that involved 5,189 participants over 10 years and the results showed that people with higher levels of blood sugar had more accelerated cognitive decline. Several other studies have been done and the results all show: the higher the level of sugar intake the higher the risk for cognitive decline. 


In Dr. Oz's latest episode, brain health researcher Mark Lugavere and NYU professor and researcher Melissa Schilling explain this link between sugar and Alzheimer's. They also go into what foods we should trade off to prevent high sugar intake.  We have to lower consumption of high-glycemic foods like white rice and potatoes and switch them up for better options like brown rice and sweet potatoes. 


What we eat and how we live has a big impact on our lives and future. Although there are many other factors that influence this disease, food is one that we can control. 

Read more on this article by The Atlantic

 

Senior Discounts: A Guide to Saving Money for Seniors

Everyone likes a discount, and dealhack made it easy for seniors to find all types of discounts with this guide. The guide has 183 brands broken into 18 different categories for seniors to choose from. 

There are all types of discounts from restaurants to retail to travel and much more. It also includes free services and tools for seniors, including Caregiverlist's senior care connect tool to help loved ones and seniors find the best care. 

Check out the complete guide at dealhack.com and start saving today!