Have Problems Sleeping at Night? Try These
I never have sleep problems at night. In fact, I sleep like a baby in some.
How I do it is easy. But I tell how you how to make the most of your 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, here are some things you need to know about sleep.
Many seniors, probably including you, have sleep problems at night, according to the NIH (National Institutes of Health). In fact, data shows that 13% of men, aged 65 and above, and 35% of women in the same age group, find it hard to sleep at all. If they do, their sleep is not as sound or deep as before.
They cite a variety of reasons like frequent trips to the bathroom, aches, and pains that make sleeping uncomfortable, fear of the future, or haunting memories of the past.
On the average, I go to the bathroom at least three times on a typical evening. But that’s because I hydrate before going to bed to avoid constipation the following day. And, being human, I also had unnecessary thoughts until I learned how to banish them when I hit the bed.
Like and food and water, you and I cannot survive for long if deprived of sleep. It as important to your body and mind. Some even say that a good night’s sleep promotes a healthy sex life.
So here are some tips to make you sleep well at night…
1. Have a specific schedule:
There is no specific schedule when to go to bed but whatever suits you best, stick to it.
Maintaining a specific schedule helps maintain the body’s biological clock, and can help you sleep more easily. It also allows you to manage your activities the following day.
Just make sure you get an uninterrupted sleep (except bathroom trips) for at least seven to eight hours each night.
2. Use as many pillows as you can:
Figure out how many pillows you need to make you comfortable in bed.
I have two pillows and three cushions, i.e. a pillow for my head, and another for my legs. Then I have two cushions to support both my arms when I lie flat and a cushion to hug when I lie to my left.
It may sound crazy, but sleeping is about comfort, not vanity. Whatever makes you comfortable, do it.
Reading before bedtime is a good mental exercise. It also tires your eyes and helps you get a good sleep.
Read the Bible or any spiritual book. Read motivational quote or stories about people who prevailed over insurmountable odds. Anything that will keep your spirits up.
Don’t read something that makes you feel sad or bad. They will gnaw at your thoughts and will affect your sleep.
4. Dim your room and drown out unnecessary noise:
Some sleeping tips suggest entirely blacking out your room to make you sleep better. This is unadvisable for seniors like you with balance and vision problems. I think this in unadvisable for seniors with balance and eyesight problems.
Your room must have enough light to allow you to safely move around at night, like going to the bathroom.
Just dim it to eliminate glare yet safe enough without the risk of falls.
Draw your curtains or close your blinds or windows to minimize, if not eliminate outside noise that can interrupt your sleep.
5. Say a mantra:
A mantra is a sound, word or sentence repeated over and over again to help you concentrate.
It helps you get rid of all thoughts that keep you from sleeping. If done well, removes all the cares and worries of the world and preps you up for a good sleep.
Mine is, “Sometimes the best way you can do is not to think, not wonder, not imagine and not obsess. Just breath and have faith that everything will work out for the best,” which I got from the Internet.
You can sing a line from your favorite nursery rhyme, a motto, or count sheep.
6. Do deep breathing:
Deep breathing is a good way to augment your mantra to help you get a good night’s sleep.
While lying down in bed, close your eyes and empty your mind.
Relax your arms and legs, then, through your nose take a deep breath and fill your lungs with air.
When it is full, hold it and count five.
Then slowly exhale the air through your mouth until your lungs are empty.
Again, hold your breath and count five.
Then repeat the cycle.
Keep it until you are half asleep.
I do ten cycles each night but I am already partly conscious when I reach the fifth.
7. Assume these positions:
o Turn to your right side:
Turn to your right side and stay there until you become uncomfortable. This preps you up prior to turning to your left.
o Turn to your left side:
Sleeping on the left side is a precept from ancient Ayurvedic medicine which modern science picked up and proven to have health benefits such as:
Better lymphatic drainage: The lymphatic system of the body is on the left side. This system carries important elements like protein, glucose, metabolites, and others that have to be filtered by the lymph nodes and drained towards the left side of the body.
Promotes better digestion: Both the stomach and the pancreas (an organ that helps convert the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells and regulates blood sugar), are on the left side of the body.
Sleeping on the left side, therefore, promotes better digestion.
Promotes better heart health: Eighty percent of the heart leans towards the left and the aorta, leaves the heart by arcing to the left. This makes the heart pump blood easily.
Promotes better spleen health: Spleen (an organ that filters blood as part of the immune system and helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis), is also on the left side of the body.
Sleeping on the left side will help direct body fluids to the spleen by natural gravity.
Medical benefits aside, I am already asleep a few minutes after turning to the left.
Of course the above will not immediately make you a sleep expert. Your body has to get attuned to it through practice. I can’t remember when I adopted it but I seem to have been doing it since I can remember.
The importance of a good sleep in the evening cannot be overemphasized especially for seniors who need as much rest as they can get.
You put your health and well-being if you don’t. It makes you prone to accidents, increase your risk to heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and affects your cognitive skills.
It will also make you a cranky old man.
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