Older people have more trouble sleeping through the night, they tend to find it more difficult falling asleep and staying asleep.

That can mean a restless night for you too! As their carer you will want to make sure they get to the bathroom safely without falling, prevent them from going outside or making loud noise and waking the rest of the house.

Restless nights can be caused by a number of factors – understanding why older adults have trouble sleeping can help you improve the situation:

  • Discomfort from medical conditions
  • Too much time spent in bed or at home
  • Daytime napping
  • Medication side effects
  • Needing to use the toilet frequently
  • Irregular sleep and sleep disruption

We’ve compiled a list to help improve their sleep (and yours!)

Speak to their doctor

Monitor their sleeping pattern, ask if any pain or medical related conditions are causing discomfort and if they can recommend anything to help.

Limit caffeine consumption, even during the day

Encourage your loved one to drink decaf coffee or tea.

Limit liquids several hours before bedtime

Make sure they have their last drink earlier in the evening, making sure they are hydrated.

Introduce a toilet routine

Make sure they go to the toilet before going to sleep. If they wake up because they’re concerned about an accident, encourage wearing disposable underwear at night for peace of mind.

Regular daily schedule

Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day helps signal their body that it’s time for bed.


Check to see if their mattress is comfortable and supportive. Keep the room at a moderate temperature so they won’t get too hot or too cold and provide them with a soft blanket so they feel warm and safe.

Improving sleep can require time and patience – stay calm and stick to the above tips to regulate their routine.