Senior Sleep Struggles: How to Get to Quality Shut Eye on a Budget

By Karen Weeks

Bringing joy and smiles to the elderly by way of music and songs…
Juan with Amparo Cortes, a woman in her 90’s, a former resident of the Lower East Side, became extremely ill and was not able to find a nursing home in the area. Gouverneur Hospital administrators told the family there was no space. They were offered a bed in the Coler-Goldwater Facility on Roosevelt Island. The family recalled their visit to that facility as something out of a horror movie; appeared abandoned; very poor housekeeping; most of the patients were emotionally disturbed persons and were walking around unsupervised and improperly clothed; only a few were bed-ridden patients. The family had no choice but to place her in a nursing home in Queens.

GENERAL ELECTION

Tuesday NOV 6

Bringing joy and smiles to the elderly by way of music and songs.

The amount of sleep you need in order to wake up rested decreases with age, but this decline stops after age 18. Unfortunately, it’s a common misunderstanding that seniors need less sleep, when, in fact, they need the recommended seven to eight hours. The problem is that seniors often have issues falling and staying asleep, and they may wake up several times during the night. The good news is that you aren’t doomed to endless nights of tossing and turning, and some of the following budget-friendly tips may help.

Incorporate Some Physical ActivityExercise is a great natural remedy for sleep deprivation in that it is a way to make sure your body is ready to rest at the end of the day. When you exercise, you use energy, which can help you fall asleep a little more quickly when your head hits the pillow. You may also find that you spend more time in deep sleep rather than waking up periodically throughout the night. Seniors should strive to incorporate light to moderate exercise rather something strenuous to prevent injury. You can buy affordable equipment at retailers like Walmart that offer discounts and cashback programs, or check out places that sell used gear. Also, walking, swimming, yoga, and gardening are all great free activities to try and can be done alone or with family/friends.

Soak Up the SunIf you find that your sleep-wake cycle seems to be a little out of whack, spend some time outdoors in the morning to soak up some sun. According to VeryWell, “Light is the principal control of our day-night cycle, influencing everything from body temperature to metabolism to sleep.” Exposure to sunlight can adjust your sleep-wake cycle, as well as boost your mood and decrease stress and anxiety that could be keeping you awake each night. When you wake each morning, spend some time outdoors whether it is going for a walk, reading the paper, or eating breakfast. Keep in mind that although some days will be cloudy, the sun will still filter through and give you the benefits you are after. Here’s the best part: the sun is free for everyone to use.

Turn Off the LightsIf you’re one of those people who like to relax and unwind at night by watching television, reading a book on your tablet, or playing on your phone, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Blue light decreases your production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone produced by your brain at night, making it a huge no-no when it comes to falling asleep at night. In other words, the blue light plays a trick on your brain, making it think it’s time to wake up rather than fall asleep. If you absolutely must watch television before bed, try to turn everything off at least an hour before you go to sleep to give your brain time to make the transition to bedtime. Of course, if your spouse or partner insists on watching late-night television in bed, it might be time to shop around for a comfy yet affordable sleep mask. Find a discounted sleep mask at Target, then give yourself more savings by cashing in on promo codes.

Create the Perfect Sleep EnvironmentYou have a cozy bed and your favorite pillow, what more could you need? Chances are, there are areas of your sleep environment you can improve to result in a better night’s sleep. Your body temperature drops as you sleep, so program the thermostat to drop down at night and set up a floor or ceiling fan to help your body further relax. To further help with the relaxation, pick out your favorite scent and incorporate it in the room using a scented plug-in or pillow spray. Noise is another sleep thief. Silence is best, but sometimes it just feels too quiet or the various noises around your home keep you awake. Invest in a white noise machine or fan to block out unwanted disturbances and lull you to sleep. These changes can be made quickly and inexpensively if you take the time to search for ways to save. Popular retailers such as Amazon offer promo codes and cashback options, meaning you can get the sleep you need without breaking the bank.

It might seem as though sleep is eluding you, but there are affordable ways to take back control. By exercising, soaking up the sunshine, powering down electronics at night, and adjusting your sleep environment, you can catch some Z’s. Hop into your comfy pajamas and give it a go!

Juan with Ms. Amparo Cortes, a woman in her 90’s, a former resident of the Lower East Side, became extremely ill and was not able to find a nursing home in the area. Gouverneur Hospital administrators told the family there was no space. Ms. Cortes was offered a bed in the Coler-Goldwater Facility on Roosevelt Island. The family recalled their visit to that facility as something out of a horror movie; appeared abandoned; very poor housekeeping; most of the patients were emotionally disturbed persons walking around unsupervised and improperly clothed; only a few were bed-ridden patients. The family had no choice but to place her in a nursing home in Queens.

Juan with Amparo Cortes, a woman in her 90’s, a former resident of the Lower East Side, became extremely ill and was not able to find a nursing home in the area. Gouverneur Hospital administrators told the family there was no space. They were offered a bed in the Coler-Goldwater Facility on Roosevelt Island. The family recalled their visit to that facility as something out of a horror movie; appeared abandoned; very poor housekeeping; most of the patients were emotionally disturbed persons and were walking around unsupervised and improperly clothed; only a few were bed-ridden patients. The family had no choice but to place her in a nursing home in Queens.

​​For ten years, our District has been hit hardest with the loss of certified nursing home beds and medical facilities. Downsizing and closures are like a cancer eroding our communities, eating away at facilities that deprive our senior citizens, and those with disabilities, of medical facilities, nursing home beds, and hospices.


  • St. Rose’s Home – Lower East Side, CLOSED 2009
  • Archdiocese Hospice – East Village, CLOSED 2009 (now a residential apartment building)
  • Bialystoker Center – Lower East Side, CLOSED 2011
  • Cabrini Hospital – Gramercy Park, CLOSED 2012 (now a luxury residential complex; construction almost completed)
  • St. Vincent’s Hospital – Greenwich Village, CLOSED 2013, which served residents from the three Districts, including our District. (now a luxury condominium with multi-million dollar condos)
  • Rivington House – Lower East Side, CLOSED 2015, a nursing home which served seniors on a short-term basis, now becoming a luxury condominium.
  • Beth Israel Medical Center – East Village, will be CLOSED in the coming year and converted to a luxury residential complex.

We need to preserve whatever nursing home beds and medical facilities are left in our District and in our neighboring Districts. And for the sake of our elders, we must create more long-term care facilities.
​This will be one of Juan’s top priorities.

Visiting Ms. Amparo Cortes, former resident of NYCHA's Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side.

Juana Baez, a good friend and resident of Baruch Houses, for many years knows and supports Juan's vision for a safe, thriving community.

Elect JUAN PAGÁN

DEMOCRAT for ASSEMBLY

Photo taken APRIL 24, 2018

SENIOR CITIZENS

The different plights that stem from gentrification and afflict the elderly are many. Here is one writer's thoughts - Joy E. Goldberg - from her testimony that was presented to the New York City Charter Revision Commission, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 - Council Chambers at City Hall .

Here, another writer - Karen Weeks - offers ideas on how we can maintain our health as we age. Below is one of her articles on the significance of rest.

Karen has a wealth of information on her website. Visit her at ElderWellnes.net

Bringing joy and smiles to the elderly by way of music and songs…

Honorable Madam Chairperson, Honorable Commissioners,

Hello. My name is Joy Goldberg, and I live in Brooklyn (and proud of it!). I retired April 1, 2016 as a distribution and window clerk in the U. S. Post Office, New Lots Station, Brooklyn, 11208.

For around the last 2 years of my postal career, give or take, I waited on an average of 2 customers per day at my window alone, who presented the 2 envelopes with Certificates of Mailing. These are replies to eviction notices: one envelope goes to the Marshal, one to the attorney handling the eviction.

This included the elderly.

Multiply my window by 3 or 4 windows open, times every station in Brooklyn, times every station in New York City, times every station in the United States. That’s a serious problem.

I have friends in the housing project across the street from the Post Office. A couple years back, their rent increased drastically. And they took a hit in their food stamps.

A former co-worker of mine studied hard to get a real estate broker’s license and passed. Congratulations seemed in order. Then I learned that this same person was working for a firm that bought buildings that needed care, fixed them up and resold them.

My first gut reaction was: after they do this to every building, whose playground will the greatest city, the “apple” become? Who is behind gentrifying every neighborhood? I doubt, the people with the 2 envelopes and Certificates of Mailing. Looks as how forces are at work who would make it impossible for anyone except the rich to live in New York City.

I also wonder how many of these owners of brand spanking new gentrified buildings live in the community and sustain it? And how are the property taxes off the blood of the now-evicted poor sustaining the community? “Bettering” New York City for whom?

The Bible decries “dividing the land for gain.” It is incongruous, inhuman, monstrous to take the bread and shelter from those who need it most and part and parcel it to those who need it least. In short, it is evil.

GOD is watching closely over “the apple of His Eye,” over how the measuring lines are drawn, what “rezoning” takes place, and who will benefit. You are authorities anointed with a stewardship, with which it is incumbent upon you to do the right thing. For this, I implore and exhort you.

Begin with those who need it first.

Thank you.
Joy E. Goldberg