Daily Routines Can Help You Sleep
Study after study has demonstrated the negative effect that aging has on quality and quantity of sleep. Reports of
But before you reach for the tranquilizers, a new study out of the University of Haifa in Israel found that consistency in daily routine activities can have a large impact on the quality and quantity of sleep, especially for older people. The study of nearly 100 elderly participants tracked the consistency of the subjects' daily routines and the quality of their nightly sleep.
The findings refer specifically to basic daily activities including showering, eating, and cleaning. Consistency in more peripheral routines like shopping or going to the doctor had less of an impact on sleep quantity and quality. In particular, a consistent nighttime routine of watching TV or reading a book led to increased quality of sleep and an easier time falling
Lead researcher Anna Zisberg was confident that routines could affect sleep, but even she was surprised by the degree to which sleep was affected. She comments, "Given the widely accepted view that light is the major synchronizer of the human sleep-wake cycle, we were surprised that our findings were so robust." Researchers were able to associated lifestyle consistency with higher sleep efficiency and decreased sleep latency. Inconsistency in lifestyle routines resulted in decreased sleep quality.
The study highlights the importance to boomers of maintaining consistent schedules as they age. As sleep becomes more difficult, aging adults can adjust their daily schedules to naturally sleep better, without the risks associated with sleep medications.