Counting On A Good Night’s Sleep – Without The Sheep

Counting On A Good Night’s Sleep – Without The Sheep

Counting On A Good Night’s Sleep – Without The Sheep

Question: Which of the following is the most important in maintaining your health as you get older?

a. Staying active.
b. Exercising regularly.
c. Eating a balanced diet.

Answer: Sorry, to mislead you, but the correct answer just might be “d.” Getting a good night’s sleep.

That’s right. According to experts, all of the above are critical to a healthy lifestyle. However, the amount and quality of your sleep is equally important.

Getting enough sleep provides valuable benefits for your mind as well as your body, such as:

  • Helps improve concentration and memory formation.
  • Allows your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day.
  • Refreshes your immune system, which in turn helps to prevent disease.
  • Has positive effects on your appetite, hormone levels and blood pressure.
  • Gives you energy and patience to handle your daily routine and unexpected challenges.

As you age, falling asleep and staying asleep can become more of a struggle, and insomnia can be more prevalent, as well. These sleep challenges can be caused by changes in your circadian rhythms, hormone levels, lifestyle habits or effects from medications.

At the same time, your sleep needs remain the same or even increase throughout adulthood—seven to nine hours per night. Failure to get quality sleep each night can lead to:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness.
  • Reduced productivity.
  • Depression, attention and memory problems.
  • Increased risk of obesity.
  • A higher likelihood of nighttime falls.

Insufficient sleep can also lead to serious health problems, including a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight problems and breast cancer in women.

But before you go losing even more sleep over all of those concerns, consider that there are several simple tips you can use and practices you can follow that will help you fall asleep faster and get quality rest each night:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Avoid napping for more than 20 minutes a day or better yet, don’t nap at all.
  • Make your bedroom a “Sleep Only Zone.” Don’t read, snack or watch TV in bed.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications that may be keeping you awake at night, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, and cardiovascular drugs.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Take a warm bath or practice yoga before bedtime.
  • Flannel, satin, down, foam or otherwise, use sheets and pillows that comfort you the moment you climb in bed.
  • After getting into bed, take several deep cleansing breaths and say a prayer or two.

Of course, Sunshine Retirement Communities offer many ways to help you exercise, stay fit and eat well. But we also realize that taking care of yourself at night can help your daytime hours be safer, healthier and more enjoyable. So let us know if there’s anything we can do to help, short of bringing a large flock of sheep into your room. If all else fails, try reading more boring articles like this one.