Is sleep becoming an increasingly precious commodity? If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, you aren’t alone.
Recent reports show that up to 50% of older Americans suffer from sleep complaints or insomnia and as our population ages, that percentage is likely to increase.
Sleeplessness in older adults is a global phenomenon because as we age, we all experience the same changes within the functions of our body.
For women, hormone fluctuations can play a big part in sleep patterns, although for both men and women it is the deterioration of the circadian rhythm that causes our sleep cycles to get muddled and make us feel out of synch.
That means we find ourselves getting tired much earlier in the evening, waking much earlier and needing to sleep during the day.
This is all a very normal part of the ageing process. However, there are other factors that can impact our ability to sleep. These include depression, anxiety, medications, pain or restless leg syndrome.
I always suggest talking to your health care professional if you have prolonged sleep disorders. In the meantime, why not try some natural therapies to nurture your mind and body into a state for sleep?
Together with my wife, Alka, we enjoy a sleep ritual every day. Starting from about 4pm we start to wind down with a relaxing activity.
A sleep ritual allows you to prepare for sleep. Why not try a Sleep Ritual like ours?
Every day, set aside some time for you.
Do something that brings you joy. You might like to read or enjoy a walk. Alka and I often take an afternoon walk and then meet a friend for a relaxing cup of tea.
One hour before your preferred bedtime, give your mind and body time to unwind from the day by turning off all electronic devices which stimulate the brain. Consider taking a bath or meditating with a cup of herbal tea containing chamomile (a natural remedy made from the dried flowers of the chamomile plant) which has been recognised for its ability to aid sleeplessness and anxiety.
Calm your mind with deep breathing. When you start to feel anxiety, lay down and put your hand on your tummy. Inhale deeply or until you feel your tummy is filled with air, then slowly and thoughtfully exhale. Repeat this 3 times.
Sleep is an important part of staying healthy and all older adults need between 7 – 9 hours sleep a night to function properly.
When we don’t get the sleep our body needs, the days drag on, we feel tired and as we age lack of sleep can impair our ability to remember things and lead to an increased propensity for falls and bumps.
Waking up should be an exhilarating experience. The start of a new day is something to look forward to, so why not create a simple sleep ritual for sweet dreams and even sweeter days ahead!
If you have a medical condition or if you are currently taking any medications, please seek the advice of your health care practioner before you commence any new health routine or consume any additional supplements.
Remember, it’s small changes that can make a big difference and your sleep is worth the effort!
How has your sleep been lately? Do you sleep better or worse in your 60s and beyond? What does your sleep ritual involve?
Tags How to Sleep Better