Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
5 Calming Foods to Help Seniors Overcome Sleep Difficulties

5 Calming Foods to Help Seniors Overcome Sleep Difficulties

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Many seniors complain of difficulty sleeping, listing a variety of reasons, and look for solutions to help them find the restful sleep they seek. As their loved ones, of course, we struggle with them and want so much to find a way to help them overcome their problem.

This is not a new problem, of course.

A National Institute of Aging study several years ago found that over 50 percent of men and women aged 65 and older complain of at least one chronic sleep issue.

The inability to sleep is more than just a threat to comfort but is a health issue for seniors. Sleep deprivation can impair their memory and cognition. As serious as these are, many seniors are inviting other risks in their attempt to get more sleep.

We previously discussed the newly updated medication guidelines for elders, the Beers Criteria, which tells us that seniors often take more sleeping aids than are safe, resulting in some harmful effects.

We would like to share some natural solutions that your senior loved one (and you as an exhausted caregiver) can try to help find relief without the harmful and unsafe effects that some sleeping medications can cause. Some suggest devices as solutions, which you may want to check out yourself. Our focus in this post in on dietary changes, which many have found to be their answer.

5 Calming Foods to Help Your Senior Loved One Sleep

  1. Tart Cherries and Cherry Juice – they contain not only antioxidants but also melatonin, which has been shown to aid the sleep/wake cycle. Seniors who were studied were given 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day with positive results.
  2. Bread – foods containing carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, pasta, corn and brown rice, assist tryptophan and aid your senior’s sleep response.
  3. Turkey – contains tryptophan, which enhances the function of the hormone serotonin, which in turn aids relaxation and sleep.
  4. Chamomile Tea – this non-caffeinated herbal tea gives a calming effect, according to research.
  5. Fortified Cereal – vitamin fortified cereal provides additional nutrients, which may be lacking in many seniors’ diets, including B6. B6 helps the body produce serotonin, which helps give a more sound sleep. Other good sources of vitamin B6 are tomato products, bananas, rice and turkey.

While it might help your senior to add some of these foods to promote sleep, other foods may be robbing them of much needed rest.

Foods to Avoid for Better Sleep

  1. Fatty Meals
  2. Caffeine
  3. Alcohol
  4. Spicy Foods

Adding a few of the “calming” foods everyday and staying away from those on the “avoid” list may help your senior loved one find a more restful sleep which will pay off benefits in their health. The senior’s loved ones might find some benefit from this tip as well!

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