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.



Hiking in the Mist: Caregiver Stress Relief

Even in the misty weather, a still and beautiful lake is a great place to walk and clear your mind. This week's stress relief photo was taken at the Eibsee, a lake near the Zugspitze in Bavaria, Germany. We invite you to take a moment to relax and enjoy the photo and inspirational quote and share them with loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for your hard work and the care you provide for our seniors. More caregivers are always needed as seniors in America are living longer. You can learn more about becoming a senior caregiver and apply for a job near you.  We hope you have a great week.


"Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness."
-Lao Tzu

Coordinate Senior Care Using Institute on Aging App

Senior caregivers need to keep track of a lot for their senior clients and communicate progress or issues back to their senior clients' families. Throughout the day it might seem easy to make a mental note, but it can be difficult to remember specific details later. Using the Senior Care Manager app from the Institute of Aging gives senior caregivers a place to record specific information and share it with the families of senior clients at the tap of a finger. 

When caregivers first create an account, they also need to create a "CareZone" profile for each of their senior clients who they would like to use the app to assist. Each CareZone profile has its own permissions attached to it. As such, caregivers can share one profile with the loved ones of their first senior client and a second profile with a different group of people without either group being able to access the other's private information. 

The basic profile for each senior client asks for contact information plus some additional medical and lifestyle information that can be helpful, such as blood type, allergies and faith. After the profile has been created, caregivers will see on the main screen that there's an icon of two people in the upper right hand corner. This designated area allows caregivers to Invite Others to use the app and access this profile. Once an invitation has been accepted, the other users have collaborative access to edit and update the information in the app as well as see everything that the caregiver posts throughout the day. 


The first two categories in the app offer News & Offers as well as Resources for senior caregivers. The News and Offers section pulls articles into the feed based on interests that users can select from a list such as Alzheimer's Disease, General Health, Migraines, etc. The Resources section focuses on the opportunity to e-mail an expert at the Institute on Aging for advice on a specific home care issue or to get information on services they offer for in-home services to financial matters. 

The rest of the categories offer collaborative care options for senior caregivers and the loved ones in their senior clients' lives. Caregivers can track medication history by taking a photo of the pharmacy label on the medicine or typing in instructions on dosage and frequency. They can set a reminder for when the medication should be taken as well as a refill reminder. This makes for easy coordination between different groups of people who might be spending time with a senior client on different days to stay on the same schedule. 

Other care documenting options include the Journal feature to record any important notes throughout the day, the calendar feature to share important appointments and the To Do area with tasks that need to be completed by a certain day. The Photos & Files area gives caregivers a place to share insurance numbers, instructions and any other pertinent information. Lastly, the Broadcast area allows caregivers to share audio clips for their senior clients loved ones to hear a little message through the app. 

The Senior Care Manager app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Turn Your Phone's Camera Into a Magnifying Glass for Easy Viewing: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Pill bottles, newspapers and instructions with products often have small text that can be a strain on the eyes to read. Senior caregivers or their senior clients who have difficulty seeing small print clearly will benefit from the Magnifying Glass With Light app, which uses your smartphone's camera as a magnifying glass to make small print bigger and shine a light if needed.  

While the magnifying app doesn't have the ability to blow up text displayed on the phone itself in other apps or when reading in safari, it does work for any text that the phone camera can be pointed at. The free version of the app features a five time zoom and the ability to turn on or off the phone's flash and adjust the level of brightness to see the text better. Users have a choice between auto settings, which allows the phone to adjust to the optimal way to view the text, or to adjust the settings themselves. 

The paid version of the app boasts extra features such as a "Crystal Clear Mode" that sharpens the text and could come in handy particularly if users are reading a newspaper or another item that may not have sharply printed words or smudged ink. The high contrast mode in the paid version inverts the viewing experience so that if an original document is black text on white paper, the user then sees it as white text on black paper. The paid version also features an image stabilizer so users who inadvertently move around while trying to read don't have to manually focus the camera over and over again. 

The Magnifying Glass With Light app is available for Apple and Andriod platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo takes us back to England, and St. Ives in Cornwall, at the start of a beautiful day. Feel free to share this photo with your loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and 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. Have a great week, and enjoy the holiday with your friends and family.

"My body needs laughter as much as it needs tears.  Both are cleansers of stress."                    -Mahogany SilverRain

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. Summer is finally here! This week's photo features a day on the beach on the southern coast of England.  Feel free to share this photo with your loved ones. Thank you caregivers and certified nursing aides for caring for our seniors and 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. Have a great week. 

"Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are."  -Chinese Proverb

MayoClinic App Eases Communication Between Patients, Doctors: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Assisting seniors as a caregiver brings many challenges, including the challenge of communicating with both the senior, their family members and their medical doctors. Now, senior caregivers and their senior clients can make communicating with their doctors easy by using the MayoClinic app. Users of the app can search locations, schedule appointments, see their medical records and view publications. 

Making a doctor's appointment for a senior client can potentially result in a game of phone tag between the patient and the medical office. With the Mayo Clinic app, senior caregivers can help their senior clients make appointments within the app. Further communication with the doctor's office within the app includes recommended health actions by their physician. 

Another useful area of the app once an appointment is made allows users to plan for their visit to the clinic by reading about specific information on the clinic and hospital buildings, maps and parking. Lodging and restaurant information also makes it easy for patients who may be traveling to their appointments to find accommodations. A video guide also shows users various aspects of the clinics, from arriving at the local airports to tours of the downtown area and entering the clinic. 

The My Health section of the app allows users access to their medical records and health information on demand, as well as to see recommendations for health actions from their doctor. This function comes in handy when senior clients may be visiting a different doctor for an regular exam, such as the dentist, and they ask for any changes in medical history. Caregivers can help senior clients pull up the medical history on the app to compare with the data on file at that office.

Patients can also message their doctors through the app if they have a minor health question, such as a clarification on the instructions for taking a medication. In the Our Locations sections you can also search all Mayo Clinic locations in case of a need to see a physician while away from home. The flip through organization of the categories of the app with subcategory descriptions below allows for easy navigation. 

The Mayo Clinic app is available for free for Apple and Android platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features morning dew found on the flowerbed of garden lilies. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week Lily

"Believe you can and you're halfway there."

Theodore Roosevelt

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