Unfortunately, sleep disorders seem to be a growing concern among the elderly. From diminished production of dopamine to decreasing levels of melatonin—neurotransmitters responsible for a good night’s sleep—aging is often synonymous with the inability to get to sleep or to go back to sleep upon waking in the middle of the night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 44 percent of older persons experience one or more nights of insomnia at least a few nights every week.
The first step is to make an appointment with their primary health care provider. If underlying diseases or medication issues are not found, consider trying these foods that have been shown to increase relaxation and promote a better night’s sleep.
Sources of Tryptophan
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that produces niacin and creates serotonin—a neurotransmitter that, if diminished, has been shown to cause depression and anxiety. Some of the foods highest in tryptophan include seeds and nuts, cheese, and most proteins including turkey, lamb, beef, chicken, halibut and salmon.
Rich in Minerals
Minerals like magnesium are essential to muscle relaxation. Magnesium has been shown to improve sleep and relieve stress. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author and practicing physician, magnesium is the relaxation mineral. Foods rich in magnesium include seaweed, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, avocado, garlic and beans. In addition, taking a warm bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is another way to get magnesium into the body and relax at the same time. Potassium is the mineral that just may be able to help you if you have trouble staying asleep. Beans, leafy greens, bananas, baked potatoes and avocados are all good sources of this important mineral.
The Right Vitamins
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in producing melatonin—otherwise known as the “sleep hormone.” The production of this important hormone tends to decline with age, making sleep that much harder to come by. Yoga U reported on two clinical trials that showed B12 helped those people who suffered from insomnia. Foods rich in this important vitamin include high-quality beef liver, sardines, mackerel, lamb, and wild-caught salmon.
Consider putting together a few of these sleep inducing foods for a light dinner or bedtime snack. A few to consider include warm milk (a good source or tryptophan) and bananas; a leafy green salad topped with a few slices of turkey and low-fat cheese; avocado atop a slice of whole-grain sprouted bread or a serving of a nut-crusted salmon with a side of broccoli and small potato.
Senior Care Provider
Sometimes company and routine can still a restless mind. Consider the services of a senior care provider when trying times and sleepless nights strike. They can assist with everyday activities, do the grocery shopping, prepare relaxing meals, accompany your parent on an evening stroll, prepare a relaxing mineral bath for them along with a cup of herbal tea, and then help them to bed, ready for a good night’s sleep.
If you or an loved-one are considering professional senior care in Philadelphia, PA, talk to Unlimited Staffing Solutions. Specializing in Home and Community Based Support Waiver Services Since 2001. Please Call Us for Your Home Care Needs (215) 447-7133
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