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5 Foods that Promote Senior Sleep

By Greg Bridges, RN, MA, 9:22 pm on

According to the National Library of Medicine, for many seniors, difficulty sleeping is a natural effect of the aging process. As we get older, our sleep patterns and lifestyles change, sometimes making it more difficult to get a full night’s rest. In addition, many adults older than age 65 have health issues or take medications that interfere with sleep. The good news is that a change in diet can sometimes keep insomnia at bay.

If you provide care for an aging parent or loved one who has trouble sleeping, Oklahoma Home Care Assistance suggests adding these five foods to his or her diet to promote a full night’s rest.

  1. Cherries – This tart fruit is a natural source of melatonin, a chemical in the brain that helps promote healthy sleep. In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, consuming tart cherry juice had a positive effect on sleep in many adults.
  2. Whole-Grain Products – According to the Cleveland Clinic, eating complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads, pastas, and rice helps contribute to healthy sleep. By contrast, simple carbohydrates such as white flour and sweets can make it more difficult to get a full night’s rest.
  3. Almonds – The AARP notes that this healthy nut is chock full of magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate healthy sleep. Seniors should eat a handful of almonds before bed if they find themselves waking frequently in the night.
  4. Bananas – Like almonds, bananas have plenty of magnesium along with potassium, which has a similar function. And like cherries, bananas are a great source of melatonin; they contain tryptophan, which the brain converts into melatonin.
  5. Lean Proteins – Another great tryptophan source is lean protein, such as low fat cheese, white meat poultry (chicken and turkey), and fish. For best results, avoid frying and other high fat preparations; these can upset your loved one’s stomach and keep them awake.

If you find that your aging loved one’s insomnia does not improve with these diet changes, consult his or her physician. Along with other dietary and activity recommendations, they can likely provide insight on how to help your loved one wind down at the end of the day.

Interested in learning more about promoting good sleep habits for seniors and older adults? Reach out to Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma today. Our professional, highly trained and compassionate caregivers are available for live-in care, and also provide part-time care in Oklahoma for seniors who need help with certain parts of their daily routine, such as going to bed safely. To request additional information or a complimentary, no-obligation consultation, call 405-285-4191 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.