Sleep can be a wonderful thing. A comfy bed, pleasant dreams and renewed energy in the morning can be just what we need to feel great. 

As we get older, our sleep patterns may begin to change. It’s common for people to have an increasingly difficult time falling asleep and staying sleep as they age. Those who struggle with sleep can find bedtime to be an anxiety-riddenSleepertime, and can suffer during the day due to exhaustion.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Some people might find that they need less sleep than they did when they were younger to feel rested. However, some may be missing out on sleep and feeling lethargic during the day.

If you are one of the many who are struggling to get enough sleep, there are a number of behavioral and environmental changes you can make to help you sleep better or determine whether or not you have a medical-related sleep issue.

Environmental Changes:

Your environment plays a significant role in how well you sleep. Consider the following advice for improving your sleep environment:

  • Sleep in a dark, quiet and cool room. Consider using an eye mask, earplugs and bringing in a fan if your room isn’t meeting these requirements.
  • Turn off light-emitting electronics, such as computers or televisions, one hour prior to bedtime. If you read from an iPad or other backlight device, you’ll want to make sure you turn these devices off an hour prior to bed, as well.
  • Move clocks out of view. Aside from the light emitted by electronic clocks that may disrupt your sleep, they also cause some insomniacs to anxiously watch the time fly by as they attempt to fall asleep.

Behavioral Changes:

Your behavior during the day and near bedtime can influence how easy it is for you to fall and stay asleep. The behaviors below can help improve your sleep:

  • Limit naps during the day
  • Stick to a regular bedtime
  • Don’t drink alcohol near your bedtime
  • Exercise regularly to boost your mood and reduce stress, both of which can contribute to a good night of sleep
  • Limit your caffeine intake

If you implement the advice above and still find yourself having trouble falling or staying asleep, you may have a medical issue that you should speak to your doctor about. Other health conditions, illnesses or medications may be keeping you from getting the sleep you need. Don’t hesitate to seek professional medical attention if your sleep problems are interfering with your life.