Improving sleep for an older adult helps a lot in reducing discomfort and pain. When they sleep well, you as the caregiver will not wake up frequently as it gets exhausting. Although there are many reasons why seniors wake up, the main one is when they experience chronic pain. Plus, if the sleeping position is not the one that is not conducive for them. It increases their pain. So focus on supporting and aligning the body, and this will help them sleep comfortably. Get the best hybrid mattress. A supportive mattress contributes a lot to their comfort. Below are tips on how to find a comfortable sleeping position for an older adult for better sleep.
For side sleepers
If your senior is a side sleeper and in this way, they feel comfortable and less pain. Request a physical therapist to explain how best to get a well-supported sleep position. For this position, use pillows under the head to ensure it stays in a natural position. Also, it helps the spine to be aligned from neck to body. Put a pillow under the torso, to help reduce pressure on the lower shoulder. This will help leave space for the arm. To keep the spine, hips, and pelvis aligned, add a pillow between the knees.
For stomach sleepers
Sleep experts do not encourage sleeping on the stomach as it hard for the back. However, a senior who has had a habit of sleeping on their stomach will not change it when they are older. Plus, seniors with degenerative disk disease find comfort sleeping on their stomach position. So how do you go about helping an older adult sleep on the stomach and keep their spine in the most natural position? Have no pillow at all under the head, or if necessary put a thin pillow below the stomach. Place a thin pillow under the pelvis. Then, bring a leg to the side and bend it slightly and add a pillow under this knee.
For those who prefer a reclining chair
Other adults find comfort sleeping in a reclining chair. Many of them who prefer this reclined position, is helpful to them if they have an isthmic spondylolisthesis. Which is a spinal condition. Therefore, sleeping in this reclined position helps to take pressure away from the spine, and they sleep comfortably. Also, you can buy a bed wedge. It is helpful with the same as it mimics the recliner chair shape. Optionally, you can consider an adjustable bed, but it is a more expensive option.
For neck pain
When a senior has general neck pain, side or back sleeping positions are the best as they help keep the spine and neck aligned with the body. To ensure that they are comfortable and feel less pain. Use the correct pillow height and then follow tips for side sleepers above. Avoid stomach sleeping position when they have neck pain. This position forces the head to stay twisted to the side. In this way, it puts pressure on the nerves around the neck, causing pain and discomfort.
When you want to relieve the discomfort of heartburn or GERD on an older adult as they sleep. Help them lie on the left side and create an incline for them to form the head. You can put the head and torso on an incline position by using a bed wedge. Importantly, avoid using extra pillows under the head because you need to have the body stay in an incline position, and use pillows will not put the stomach that way, and you need the stomach acid staying down in the stomach.
To sum up, it is vital to ensure that seniors get to sleep comfortably and in sleeping positions that are comfortable in reducing their pain. Also, if you do not have pillows, rolled towels, or blankets will help to create the same effect. So, if you are still experimenting, this will come in handy as you plan to get more pillows. Where you find that you are not sure of the best sleep position for your senior. Consult a sleep therapist who can guide you on how best to keep them comfortable.