How To Improve Your Sleep

There is no denying the benefits of a good night’s sleep, but it is surprising just how much of our modern life makes this difficult to accomplish. It is also a myth that only young people need to sleep well; the need for a deep, restorative sleep is beneficial to all, regardless of age.

Sleeping patterns
As people age, their sleep patterns alter. They may start waking up earlier than they used to, feel tired sooner or sleep only lightly. It can, therefore, be easy to think that feeling tired during the day, not being able to sleep of a night or having a disturbed sleep are the inevitable symptoms of ageing, but this would not be true. More mature adults suffering from these should take steps to remedy them, as failure to enjoy a proper sleep can have a detrimental effect on both mental and physical health.

Why mature adults need to sleep well
It is a common symptom of age that the memory and cognitive abilities begin to degenerate, the body takes longer to heal and the immune system takes more time to refresh itself. Lack of or poor sleep can affect and worsen all of these symptoms. Insufficient sleep can also result in daytime lethargy, an inability to concentrate and depression. In a younger person, these may not be a long-term problem, but in someone in their 60s and above, it could mean that falls are more likely to occur, they may become more sensitive to pain, and therefore use more drugs and medication to counter them. Whilst it has not been proven, it is also believed that lack of sleep can also lead to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer in older individuals.

How to improve chances of having a good sleep
In order to regularize a change in sleeping patterns, it is essential to develop a routine in regard to bedtimes. Going to bed at a regular hour will help the body’s circadian rhythm to work more efficiently, and it is believed that if someone is tired in the middle of the afternoon, then they should listen to their body and take a short nap. It may even help them get to sleep when it is time to go to bed.
A heavy meal lying on the stomach will make it more difficult to get off to sleep. Either eat earlier in the evening to give the meal a chance to go down, or have a lighter dinner. Try to avoid drinking either tea or coffee shortly before going to bed as these contain caffeine, a known stimulant.

Turn off any technology and read a good book instead to wind down, as the television will stimulate rather than relax the visual cortex. Also, try to prevent light from entering the bedroom, such as moonlight or street lamps, by hanging blackout curtains or installing plantation shutters. The latter option may be better as shutters offer the ability to regulate the amount of light entering the room.
Finally, indulge in some easy exercise during the day, as this will not only help to lower stress levels, but also gently tire the body so that it finds it easier to slip into sleep at bedtime.

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