As we age, sleep can get challenging. The good news? You can do something about it — starting today.
As a SilverSneakers fan, you know that physical activity is essential for good health, but it’s just one part of a bigger strategy. How you sleep plays a major role in your wellness, too.
But for many people, sleep becomes more elusive during aging because the factors that interfere with quality sleep can stack up. Research on sleep patterns and aging found that it’s common to see shifts like shortened sleep duration, increased frequency of daytime naps, and waking up more often in the middle of the night, in part because of hormone changes, medical conditions, and medications. Stress and inactivity also play a role. But those researchers noted that common doesn’t mean inevitable — healthier older adults are less likely to report sleep problems, they added.
When sleep quality is lacking, it can have a significant ripple effect. For example, a study on older adults in China found that those with sleep issues tended to feel more psychological distress. Another study, looking at factors that increase Covid risk for older adults, notes that there’s a strong link between sleep and immune function as well as chronic inflammation.
The good news is that there are simple things you can do every day to help you fall asleep faster — and stay asleep after you do.
To help you sleep with ease, we’ve teamed with senior fitness expert Larysa DiDio to put together seven days of simple changes you can make that will add up over time to better sleep habits. Getting more activity is definitely a part of that, and the type of exercise you do — and when you do that workout during the day — can be important for easing you into dreamtime later. But we’ll cover other helpful sleep strategies, too.
Join us this week for strategies you can put into practice for months and years to come.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find:
- A fun cardio workout, which research shows help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm when done in the morning or afternoon
- Bedtime stretches to ease tension
- A beginner-friendly tai chi routine that preps your body and mind for rest
- Easy-to-follow eating advice to support better sleep
- Practical ways to calm your mind and beat insomnia
- Tips for creating a bedtime routine that sets the stage for a good night’s sleep
- Plus, recommendations for SilverSneakers LIVE and in-person classes to keep the momentum going
How the 7-Day Sleep Challenge Works
The challenge is open to everyone, including SilverSneakers members and non-members. You can follow along here on the SilverSneakers blog to see the latest.
For the exercises, all you need is a sturdy chair, open floor space, and water to stay hydrated. If you’d like support during any of the exercises, set up near a wall.
As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than your regular SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Ready to go? Keep up with the daily activities:
Day 4: 9 Stretches to Do Before Bed
Day 5: Create the Right Sleep Space
Day 6: What to Eat for Better Sleep
Check Your SilverSneakers Eligibility Instantly
SilverSneakers members can go to thousands of gyms and fitness locations across the nation, plus take SilverSneakers LIVE online classes that are designed for seniors of all levels. If you have a Medicare plan, it may include SilverSneakers—at no additional cost. Check your eligibility instantly here.
Not eligible for SilverSneakers? You can still get 200-plus free SilverSneakers On-Demand videos and stay in touch with us by creating your online account.