Tips For Better Sleep

Tips For Better Sleep

How the elderly can get a better night’s sleep

Sleeping can often cause difficulties for elderly people. Regular waking through the night, aches and pains and insomnia can all be problematic, and these can lead to exhaustion during the day – which can make everyday activities a struggle.

So how can you help your elderly relative to sleep better through the night?

Changes in sleep as we age

Sleep patterns change as we age. The older we get, the lighter our sleep tends to get, which is a natural occurrence. Less deep sleep means there is a greater tendency to wake briefly during the night on multiple occasions, and elderly people will often go to bed earlier and wake up earlier.

In addition to this, many elderly people may also suffer problems that prevent them from sleeping well:

  • arthritis can cause pain that prevents restful sleep
  • they may need to urinate more frequently during the night
  • some medications can affect sleep
  • stress due to moving home or the loss of friends and family can also affect sleep

These are often not genuine sleep disorders, but they can certainly have an effect on sleep.

However, sometimes more serious sleep disorders can cause problems. These include sleep apnoea, where breathing temporarily stops, periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS), and restless leg syndrome.

Changes you can make to the daily routine

As long as there is no specific sleep disorder, there are often many simple changes that a person can make to their daily routine to get a better night’s sleep. You could help your elderly relative to incorporate these into their lifestyle. Some of these include:

  • Stick to a regular bedtime and waking time. This helps to get into a routine, which can improve the quality of sleep.
  • Have pre-sleep rituals such as taking a bath or reading a book to prepare for sleep each night.
  • Exercise during the day. We’ve written on exercise for the elderly before, and this is one of the best ways to get a better night’s sleep. Physical exercise tires you out more, but exercise is best carried out earlier in the day rather than during the few hours preceding sleep.
  • Avoid substances that affect sleep. This may involve cutting down on caffeine, smoking and alcohol.
  • Try to avoid longer daytime naps. Many people enjoy their long naps, but if their night time sleep is affected, it may be better to cut the nap to about 30 minutes or less.
  • Get out and about. Going for a walk, doing some gardening and getting lots of daylight can help to improve sleep.
  • The sleep environment itself may be a problem. Make sure the bedroom is a comfortable temperature and not too warm, and ensure it is dark and peaceful. A good quality mattress should also be used to provide enough support.
  • Mental stimulation during the day can help with sleep. This could include a hobby, doing the crossword, jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, reading or anything else they enjoy doing.

See a doctor if the problem is more serious

Sometimes a trip to the doctor is in order. For example, you may suspect that a medication your relative is taking is causing them sleep problems. Or there may be a more serious health condition that needs to be checked.

If you are worried, encourage a trip to the doctor. They may want to carry out some further tests, or they might provide some recommendations for changing sleep habits.

Useful Resources:


Sleep Council


Sleep Foundation

CTA Case Studies

We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your nurse-led care needs.

0808 239 1525

Jobs FAQs

What shifts or rotas are available for professional carers?

Our branches have a wide variety of hours and rotas which means it’s possible to find shifts that fit in with your life situation, whether you want a full time role or are just looking for a few hours a week. All that we ask is that you commit to the hours you can do two weeks in advance.

Do I need care experience to join?

Six months’ professional care experience is ideal - such as a domiciliary carer, care assistant, homecare worker, support worker or healthcare assistant. However, if you are new to care some branches do offer training leading to care certificates, so please contact the recruitment team to discuss on 0808 239 9716.

Do I need a driving licence?

A full clean driving is required for some roles, but not all. Job roles normally state if a driving licence is required, but if you are unsure then please contact the recruitment team on 0808 239 9716.

What pre-employment checks do you do?

To join Prestige Nursing & Care as a professional carer you will be required to apply for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, unless you are registered with the update service.

We can help you apply via your local branch. When you work with children and vulnerable adults a DBS check is a legal requirement. Find out more about DBS checks:

We also require two professional references, one of which should be your current or most recent employer.

Finally, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK, NI number, ID and proof of address. Your recruiter will talk you through all requirements and support you all the way.

What training do I need to complete before starting work?

You will need to complete both online e-learning modules and virtual training via Microsoft Teams. This is very flexible and can be completed from home as long as you have a compatible device. Find out more about the training we offer.

Is the training free?

Yes, the training is completely free.

Do you offer regular patterns of work?

Yes, our branches offer a wide variety of hours and shift patterns.

Will I be employed by Prestige Nursing & Care?

You would become a member of our team with a contract for services. You would be eligible for things like SSP and holiday, as well as a NEST workplace pension.

How old do you have to be to work as a carer?

You need to be 18 years old to join our care team and there is no upper age limit.

How often will I get paid?

We pay all our professional carers weekly.