Good health rests on a good night’s sleep. When you wake up rested, you are ready to take on the day! Your body needs enough rest to work right. In fact, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health, along with eating right and getting enough exercise.
Changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. As we age we tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep – which is a problem because research shows that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood and that it is a misconception to think that sleep needs decline as we get older.
So what is keeping us awake?
Changes in the patterns of our sleep (as we age we tend to spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep vs. deep sleep).
Changes in internal rhythm cycles that coordinate the timing of our bodily functions.
Increase in the number of times we wake up at night related to various factors.
Chronic pain brought on by health conditions such as arthritis, heartburn or heart disease.
Restless legs or muscle spasms.
Social or recreational drug use – caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
Environmental noise – television, radio, street noise, etc.
Poor bed/mattress condition.
Poor scheduling – eating and/or exercising too late, napping too long/often during day.
Tips to sleep better
Avoid watching TV, eating and discussing emotional issues in bed.
Minimize noise, light and temperature extremes in the bedroom.
Try not to drink fluids after 8 pm.
Avoid naps or take short ones (no more than 25 minutes).
Don’t smoke near bedtime.
Don’t drink caffeine at least four hours before bedtime.
Avoid eating, exercising and alcohol before bedtime.
Lose weight and exercise regularly to decrease snoring, sleep apnea and other chronic conditions that affect sleep.
Don’t ignore depression – seek help from family, friends or a professional.
Reduce stress by practicing meditation or performing relaxation exercises before bedtime. Look into aromatherapy,
music or yoga and how these things can help.
If despite your efforts nothing seems to work, talk to your doctor about other options you might consider.
Don’t deprive yourself of the sleep you need. Remember, everything seems a little better after a good night’s rest!