Sleep Aids that Are Safe for Aging Adults

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Sleep problems are a common issue for older adults. Poor sleep quality and insufficient sleep time can reduce energy levels, increase the risk of illness, and contribute to depression. Lack of sleep also hinders motor skills, so the risk of accidents may increase. If your elderly loved one is in need of a good night’s sleep, here are some safe options that can help. 

Herbal Tea

Many herbs are known to promote relaxation and better sleep quality. For instance, chamomile reduces anxiety and soothes mild pain, which can be two significant barriers to sleep. Peppermint tea can be very calming and ease digestive upset. Other herbal teas that can support better sleep include ginger, linden flower, orange spice, and cinnamon. However, if your loved one is taking any medications, check with his or her doctor before using herbal teas. Some herbs can produce dangerous or unpleasant interactions when combined with certain medications.  If you aren’t always able to be with your loved one to make sure he or she takes medications correctly, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Senior home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Aromatherapy is a more passive method of enhancing relaxation and sleep quality. Essential oils such as rosemary, mint, vanilla, and sandalwood have been shown to have calming effects on the brain. Some oils, such as lavender, even increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a positive mood and plays a critical role in sleep. Best of all, unlike herbal teas, aromatherapy doesn’t present a risk of adverse drug interactions. 


Melatonin is a neurotransmitter the brain naturally produces to cause sleepiness and regulate sleep. However, as people age, their melatonin production decreases. This can result in insomnia, frequent waking, and an inability to sleep long enough. In some cases, taking an over-the-counter melatonin supplement may correct this issue. However, it’s recommended to speak to your loved one’s doctor first.  For seniors with health conditions that make it difficult to sleep through the night, having a professional caregiver close by can provide a sense of comfort. For many seniors in Irving, TX, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Dim Lights

Suggest to your parent that he or she turn off the television and avoid any bright lights at least two hours before bed. Studies have shown that blue-wave light, such as that emitted by screens and white light bulbs, disturbs melatonin production. Even light coming from street lamps is enough to disrupt this important process, so heavy window coverings are also suggested. If your loved one prefers to read before bed, it’s recommended that he or she use a yellow light bulb, as this color doesn’t interfere with melatonin.  If your loved one lives alone, provide detailed written instructions for using each of these methods (such as a set time to turn down the lights and which lights to turn off), and carefully go through each method with your loved one so he or she can do them independently before bed.  If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Irving elder care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us at (817) 591-1580 today.


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