Everyone knows how important it is to get enough sleep each and every night. The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and senior adults need even more sleep in order to stay their healthiest. Part of getting enough sleep isn’t just sleeping at night, but making sure that you are taking restorative naps, when needed during the day.
Many seniors take naps on a regular basis, especially if they aren’t getting enough sleep at night. Naps can help any senior feel more focused, more aware and more productive during the day. However, not all naps are created equal—there are keys to enjoying a truly great nap, and it isn’t just about napping longer. There are many things that seniors, or any adult, can do in order to nap smarter.
Here are a few tips for seniors who want to make the most of their naps:
- Keep naps short. The average adult gets the most out of naps that are between 10-20 minutes. Naps shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes.
- Seniors who struggle to wake up from their naps should consider drinking some caffeine right before laying down. It takes about 20 minutes for the caffeine to kick in, which can help seniors wake up feeling more awake and rejuvenated.
- The right environment is important for any successful nap—seniors should nap in a cool dark place. Typically, between 68-70 degrees.
- If seniors are particularly sensitive to noise, they should consider a white noise machine as part of their nap routine. A white noise machine can help block out distracting noises that prevent many seniors from getting the rest they need—these are particularly helpful for seniors who are living in an assisted living community or nursing home that is noisy.
- Naps should be taken in the early afternoon. Napping after 3 PM can impact any senior’s ability to fall asleep at night, and while naps are important—they shouldn’t interfere with evening rest.
- Consider meditation. Seniors who struggle to fall asleep because they have a wandering mind (as many people do) can benefit from regular mediation. This can help them ease their minds and find a sense of peace so they can drift off easily when it is time to go to sleep.
In addition to keeping these nap tips in mind, it is important for seniors to make sure they are carving out time in their day to actually take naps. Most seniors benefit from naps the most when they take a short nap at the same time every day as part of their regular routine. Seniors who find they are irritated, unable to focus or who are struggling with memory can benefit from these regular naps and all of the benefits that they can bring.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.