The average total sleep time /night is 8 hrs at aged 15 ; 6.8hrs at aged 40 ; 6.3 hrs at aged 60 and 5.8 hrs at aged 80.
There is great variability in sleep times between individuals with diurnal rhythm and other times of sleep ( afternoon Nana Naps “ contributing to reduced night time sleep. Contributors to poor night time sleep are anxiety / depression , irregular routines around bed time , irregular daily activities like shift work.
The following sleep hygiene routines will often improve sleep patterns .:
- Consistent sleep schedule – retire and arise at the same time each day
- Avoid caffeine, cigarettes , stimulants and alcohol after the evening meal
- Engage in light exercise but not in the 2 hours before bed
- Avoid day time naps after 3 pm and no longer than 30 minutes if your afternoon sleep is regularly longer than this speak to your GP – other factors like anemia, thyroid disease, sleep apnoea might need to be considered
- Avoid large snacks and limit fluid intake after the evening meal – consider oesophageal reflux as a possible cause of night time sleep disturbance
- Keep the bedroom quiet with subdued lighting at a comfortable temperature
- Only undertake quiet relaxing activities in the hour before bed and have a regular bedtime routine for the half hour before bed
- Only go to bed when feeling sleepy
- Only use your bed for sleep not as your office , couch or social media forum
- Avoid watching TV, playing video games or texting in bed as the rapid screen movement of LCD /LED /CRT is brain stimulating as are fluorescent lights
- Use relaxation techniques if you have trouble switching off from the day’s activities – visualize soothing images, perform gentle slow stretches in bed. If you are subject to arthritis pains utilize simple techniques to minimize these before retiring – warm bath or shower , heat packs , massage before bed.