How much sleep do you need every day? Is it sufficient enough to give you the energy to last all day?
Sleep is an essential tool for the human body, regardless of age and gender. It can restore one’s energy levels, not to mention, heal both the cognitive and physical damages. We know that, ideally, the regular sleeping pattern each night is at least 8 hours. You surely agree that having sufficient sleep lets you function at your best.
The sad truth is, as we get older, several factors make the 8-hour sleep more difficult to achieve. If you are living with older adults, you’ll notice a significant change, which is the decrease in their melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone governing the sleeping patterns within our bodies.
In addition, seniors are more likely to wake up due to minor disturbances or health complaints. Frequently too, they struggle to sleep at their desired time.
Advantages of Having Sufficient Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential, especially to seniors, as it helps enhance memory formation and concentration. Having sufficient sleep enables the body to repair or fix any cell damage occurring during the day. It also refreshes the immune system, which, for its part, helps avoid illness. Among the other advantages of having the right amount of sleep include:
- Enhanced alertness while awake
- Improved attention span and memory
- Reduced usage of medication
- A happier and more active lifestyle
- Reduced depression symptoms
- Improved health condition
- More regulated appetite
10 Foods for Sleep Seniors should Consume and Avoid
A snack with proper nutrients at bedtime may help regulate the sleep of seniors. Here are the 5 must-consume foods to help seniors with their sleep:
- Nutritious fruits
Fruits like bananas can help an elderly fall asleep faster. Aside from them being rich in magnesium and potassium, bananas are also great sources of tryptophan. This is a form of amino acid that helps encourage sleep.
- Complex carbohydrates
Indeed, sweet potato is an excellent source of complex carbs, especially if eaten with whole grains like oatmeal, for one. These foods help improve tryptophan levels. The National Sleep Foundation reports that oatmeal is especially useful as it also contains plenty of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, silicon, and phosphorus.
- Lean protein foods
Lean proteins are also rich in tryptophan, which enhances the serotonin levels, not to mention promotes sound sleep. A small amount of peanut butter spread on a banana, a low-fat cheese on top of a cracker or an egg over whole-grain bread, can be satisfying. It promotes sleep before bedtime, too.
- Heart-Friendly Fats
You may find it surprising, but heart-friendly fats are another ideal choices for some nighttime snacks. Examples of these are peanut butter, avocados, and nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts, to name a few. Almonds, specifically, are rich in protein and magnesium, which promote relaxation for muscle.
- Warm Milk
Do you remember your childhood when your mom gave you a glass of warm milk before bedtime to ensure your good night’s sleep? Let the senior in the family drink warm milk too, an hour before bedtime to result in improved sleep. Milk is rich in tryptophan. It is also a good source of melatonin production.
The next 5 foods are the ones seniors should avoid:
Just a few reminders: some food and beverages may appear like tempting evening treats. However, they may have an unfavorable impact on both rest and sleep. Below are edibles you shouldn’t give an elderly loved one:
Everybody knows this! Specifically, it is your coffee-drinking in the afternoon that can significantly impact your sleep. The caffeine content of coffee can stay in your system for hours. Therefore, avoiding caffeine is the best thing to do several hours before bedtime.
- Tomato sauce
This may be vegetable-based, but its high acidity can cause heartburn and indigestion. If the elderly in the house wants to eat something with tomato sauce, serve it at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Cheeses and cured meat
These are ideal picnic food usually consumed during the daytime and not at dinnertime. Don’t ever plan to end your day with a platter of cheeses and cured meats. They contain tyramine, an amino acid making you awake or alert for a long time.
- Dark Chocolate
A bar of this food can contain up to a quarter of the caffeine a typical cup of joe usually has. It also has an amino acid that can make a person alert. Dark chocolate is twice the energy. Therefore, it is a better sack in the afternoon than in the middle of the night.
In any condition, soda is not the right kind of food. Aside from its alarming side effects, soda is certainly awful for falling and staying asleep. It is sugar-filled, leaving a person wide awake. This beverage has even been identified with restless sleep.
We already mentioned earlier in this article that as we age, our sleeping pattern changes, as well. More so, as we get older, our body generates lower hormonal growth levels. Therefore, we are likely to experience a decrease in a deep sleep.
If this takes place, your body produces less melatonin. This means the common experience of often experience more fragmented sleep and longer awake time at night. These are the reason most of us call ourselves ‘light sleepers’ as we get older. We may not have mentioned Vitamin B6 and chamomile tea earlier, but they are great contributors to a good night’s sleep, too
So, what’s your senior loved one’s favorite bedtime snack? And, what among these foods to avoid does he frequently eat or drink? Be sure his favorite’s something that addresses his sleep disorder. If you can’t think of a meal or two, consider the sleep-promoting eats we have here.