Improving Sleep

By the time we’re 65, we have slept about 22 years. However, 20 – 30% of older New Zealanders report a sleep problem.

Age Concern Wellington has partnered with Dr Rosie Gibson, from the Sleep-Wake Research Centre and Massey University, to offer a series of sleep presentations in the Wellington Region. A recent presentation was attended by about 100 people. Dr Gibson exposed some of the reasons for potential sleep problems, and perhaps more importantly, some tips and advice to improve our sleep quality. Some of her tips included:

  • Avoiding eating or drinking too much before bed
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine before bed
  • Keeping the bedroom a ‘safe sleep’ zone (for example, by avoiding watching TV or listening to radio in bed)

Although it is well known that as we get older our sleep typically becomes lighter and more fragmented, quality sleep is important and should be prioritised to support mental health and social wellbeing. Dr Gibson encouraged us to try to preserve good sleep to maintain healthy ageing through keeping a regular routine and, when possible, making sure we spend some of the daytime in bright light and exercising to strengthen the internal body clock.

During the lockdown, Dr Gibson recorded an online sleep presentation, which can be viewed here (click here). Further sleep presentations will be offered in the coming months: please visit our “events” page for more information.

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