Can’t Sleep? The Truth About Sleep and Aging – 5 Tips to a Better Night’s Sleep
Can’t sleep? The truth about sleep and aging is that, you can, and should, expect a good nights sleep. As we age, we still require seven to nine hours of sleep, but our ability to get good quality sleep may be affected. This is the reason to start or begin to develop good habits that will insure you get a good night’s sleep as you age.
The first good sleep habit to incorporate into your life is a bedtime sleep ritual. This would entail allowing your body to wind down before retiring to bed. Bedtime rituals may include a warm bath, relaxing music or reading a book before getting into to bed. Some people have a small snack prior to sleep. This is great, as long as you don’t over do it. Those with digestive problems do not want to eat a heavy meal before bedtime. This leads us into the next good sleep habit.
Eating and drinking, play an important role in whether or not you get a good nights sleep. Eating a heavy meal late or drinking a lot before bedtime can interfere with your sleep pattern and cause frequent disruptions in your sleep cycle.
Spicy foods can affect the digestion and cause gastric upset when you are trying to lie flat in bed. Those individuals that suffer with frequent heartburn, even if they are on medication to relieve that heartburn, can suffer from eating too much before bedtime. So to get a restful night sleep, eat about 4 hours before bedtime and if you have a snack, make it a small one.
Drinking alcohol before bedtime will make you feel tired and sleepy. As alcohol is digested in the body, it goes from being a depressant to a stimulant. So as you start to feel tired and drowsy, your sleep cycle will be interrupted and you will experience a light and wakeful period.
Drinking before bedtime, alcohol or non alcoholic beverages, should be done in moderation. Drinking copious amounts of fluids before bedtime will cause a disruption in your sleep to get up in the middle of the night. Caffeinated beverages have a diuretic effect on the body and will have the same result. This will disrupt your sleep cycle and interfere with a restful night’s sleep.
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Incorporate physical exercise or activity early into your day. If you are a person that does not like exercise, this does not mean that it has to be a tedious and hard workout. On the contrary, physical activity should be something that you enjoy. So if getting a restful night sleep is eluding you, try being more active. Swim, take water aerobics, dance, and garden or just take a walk. If you are unable to do these things, there are chair exercises that will get you moving. Being active and staying active, a key to healthy aging is also a step towards a good night’s sleep.
The truth about sleep and aging is as we age some of us tend to worry, stress and get anxious over not being able to sleep. Some lie in bed and worry about the day’s events or a new situation that has occurred in our lives. As we age we also experience major losses in our lives. We lose our life long friends, our spouse or even our pets. Sleep can elude us.
It is important to practice stress reduction techniques to get a restful night’s sleep. You are never too old to learn how you respond to stress. You just have to be willing to take the time and want to change some habits to decrease or even alleviate stress. Stress reduction does not include counting sheep to sleep!
If you are on medications, please discuss with your health care professional if any of the medications you are presently taking are responsible for a poor night’s sleep. There are medications that would disrupt sleep in a variety of different ways.
The truth about sleep and aging is a restful night’s sleep is just a few changes in our life away. If you can’t sleep and have tried all these strategies, don’t wait, see your health care professional.
Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. That decision may be made when you are 20, 30, 40 or in fact at any age, with sooner rather than later being ideal. Diane has developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. If a good nights sleep is an issue for you visit http://www.aginghomehealthcare.com/cant-sleep.html for more ideas. While there sign up for Aging Home Health Care Ezine her free newlsetter and receive a complimentary copy of the Home Health Care Planning Guide.
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