Even if you may have had no previous trouble sleeping, as we age its normal (although irritating) to notice a shift in your sleeping patterns. Being sleepy earlier in the evening, waking up earlier in the morning and having a lighter sleep are all very normal changes that most people will experience. If you’re experiencing insomnia, are waking tired day after day or experiencing disturbed sleep, there may be other underlying issues that need to be addressed. Sleep is just as important to health and happiness over 60 as it was when you were much younger and in fact not getting enough sleep may lead you to suffer from depression, being overtired during the day, focus and memory problems, or even serious health issues. Studies show that insufficient sleep can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, weight issues and even cardiovascular disease. A good night’s sleep, on the other hand, gives your body the time it needs to repair cell damage, improve concentration and gives your immune system a chance to refresh.
Ageing brings on a reduced level of growth hormone which means that we get less deep sleep in our later years. We produce less melatonin which can lead to frequent waking during the course of the night. Sometimes this results in staying in bed longer to get the sleep that we need, or taking a nap during the day to make up for the shorter periods of sleep at night.
There are several other reasons that you could be suffering from a night of unrest, and these underlying issues will have to be dealt with in order for you to get back to the full 8 hours of slumber that you had enjoyed in the years before.
- Are you under a lot of stress or do you suffer from anxiety? Are you worried about something?
- Are you feeling depressed? Hopeless?
- Are you taking medications that might be the culprit when it comes to your insomnia?
- Are you suffering from health problems that might be affecting your quality of sleep?
- Have you recently suffered some trauma in your life?
Most of us will experience at least one of the above at some point in our lives, and it helps to identify what other issues might be making us stay awake at night. These things can certainly be addressed in order for you to get back on track. If you can’t identify any specific issues that might be keeping you awake, below are some great tips for easing your way into a deeper sleep.
- Maintain a bedtime routine as often as you can. This means sticking to a regular bedtime and also going through similar motions before you tuck in so that your body begins to recognize the signs that it’s time to go to sleep. This might mean having your snack, taking a bath, or even something as simple as turning all the lights off around the house and locking the doors.
- At least one hour before bed turn off all of the stimulants and avoid any back lit devices like IPads or e-readers. If you can’t give up your e-reader simply use one that isn’t back lit (one that needs a light source to read by).
- Ensure that your bedroom is dark (this might even mean turning digital clocks to face the wall) and cool; if you can’t block all of the light, using a sleep mask can help.
- Make sure to adjust your bedtime routine to reflect any new patterns you’re noticing. If you’re tired earlier in the evening, go to bed and don’t force your body to stay up as late as you used to. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day as consistently as you can.
- Use white noise to block any irritating sounds you might hear. Something as simple as turning on the bathroom fan can help eliminate other sounds that may wake you up, or try a set of comfortable ear plugs.
- Check any medications that you’re taking to ensure that one of the side effects isn’t insomnia or poor sleep quality. Talk to your doctor about alternatives if you think that your medications might be keeping you up at night.
- Get some exercise during the day so that your body is tired at night. If you find your day is less physical than it used to be, even a daily walk can get your heart rate up and help you to feel more tired when evening rolls around.
- If you’re napping, keep naps short (between 15 and no more than 45 minutes), and be sure to take them early in the afternoon.
This article was written by Sam Socorro from The Steam Shower Store. Sam has been writing articles for over 10 years and is a commanding voice in the health and fitness community with her articles high in demand.