Getting enough sleep is one of the most important components of overall health and well-being, especially for older women. Unfortunately, as we age, our sleep patterns often become more irregular. We might find ourselves getting tired earlier, waking up earlier, or sleeping less deeply than before.
This is not just a matter of inconvenience. As I learned from my conversation with author and molecular biologist Dr. John Medina, sleep is one of the most important things for the aging brain. But, what can we do about it?
The good news is that there are plenty of techniques that you can use to improve your sleep and get the rest your body needs. This is the only time that you will hear me say that I hope one of my articles puts you to sleep!
Yoga offers a variety of benefits for your physical health and emotional state and can be a natural cure for insomnia. There are even simple breathing techniques that can get your body in the right state for restful sleep. Find out how certain yoga poses and breathing exercises can help influence your body’s rhythms and help you achieve a state of relaxation.
Do you have something on your mind that is preventing you sleeping? Often our anxieties and racing thoughts can keep us from achieving a good night’s sleep. Starting a meditation practice can help put your mind at ease and help you relax.
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a simple process of clearing your mind and visualizing calm images, or try to focus on repeating a single simple word or mantra, such as “peace, peace, peace,” or “calm, calm, calm.” Watch my interview with Susan Piver to find out more about the many benefits of meditation for women of all ages.
No, I’m not talking about having a glass of wine before bed. As tempting as this might be, alcohol can actually interfere with your sleep patterns and prevent you from getting the deep sleep that your brain needs. In addition, we all know to avoid caffeine too soon before bedtime.
Setting these sleep killers aside, there are plenty of healthy drinks that can help you to fall asleep, without negative side-effects. For example, certain teas like cherry tea, chamomile tea and others can serve as a natural cure for insomnia. Check out this article for more ideas and details on sleep aid drinks.
Remember when you were a child and your parents used to read you a bedtime story? Or, perhaps you have grandchildren that you tell stories to. Bedtime stories work because they tap into a fact about sleeping that most people don’t understand – the more you think, the harder it is to go to sleep. Stories help to take our thoughts away from the repetitive loops that keep us awake.
One technique that I have found extremely helpful in falling asleep is listening to audiobooks in bed. The only challenge is remembering where you stopped listening, but, this is a small price to pay for a restful night’s sleep!
In addition to yoga, you can try progressive muscle relaxation to bring your body and mind into balance. It sounds like an odd technique, but, I have tried it myself and it actually works! With progressive muscle relaxation, you take turns deliberately tensing and then relaxing the various muscle groups of your body. Having a goodnight check-in with each part of your body is the perfect way to calm your mind and get ready for sleep.
Many scents, such as lavender, can be used to create feelings of calm and help you sleep. Part of the fun of aromatherapy is experimenting with different scents, until you find one that works for you. Read about aromatherapy and its many health benefits!
I hope that the suggestions in this article help you to get the restful sleep that you deserve. When you sleep well, everything else in your life seems lighter. Which technique will you try tonight?
What are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced trouble sleeping as you have gotten a little older? What sleep aids or techniques have you tried? Let us know in the comments below.
Watch this episode of the Sixty and Me Show, in which Susan Piver and I discuss the many benefits of meditation for women of all ages.
Tags How to Sleep Better