Becoming stressed out and worried about losing another night’s sleep can affect your health. The truth is that our quality of sleep affects how we age. A good night’s sleep is important for rejuvenating the body and restoring mental and physical health. Quality sleep allows our bodies to overcome cell damage from our daily activities and works to enhance our immune system, to help our bodies fight off infections and illness.
A good night’s sleep is also responsible for our mental clarity, our ability to concentrate and even our mood.
A good night’s sleep involves 5 different stages in a normal sleep cycle. These stages are from a light sleep (stage 1) to a very deep sleep (stage 4). Then there is stage 5, the rapid eye movement sleep. During this period of sleep, our eyes move rapidly, our pulse, breathing and even our brain wave activity increases. This is the sleep where we experience dreams.
Chronic inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or wakening frequently during the night may lead to:
- Memory loss or forgetfulness.
- Excessive and ongoing daytime fatigue
- Balance problems
- Vision problems
- Inability to concentrate
More Stressed Over Losing another Night’s Sleep? The Truth about Sleep and Aging …
Chronic stress affects sleep and aging. The hormone adrenaline is released when you experience stress or anxiety, causing your heart to race, your blood pressure to be raised and put your body in a state of increased alertness. This is not the effect you want to have when you are trying to get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep and aging are tied very closely to how we age. Those that experience chronic poor sleep have an increased chance of having other medical or health conditions that affect their quality of life as they age. The majority of health care or medical problems we experience as we age are stress related. There is a direct correlation between our thoughts, how we react to those thoughts and our health and well being.
The truth about sleep and aging is we can get a good night’s sleep by developing good sleep habits, practice stress management, eat right and exercise. This will lead to a better quality of life and healthier life style.
Stressed over losing another night’s sleep? Then let’s review what good sleep habits are and see if you are presently incorporating them into your life.
Good sleep habits include:
- A regular sleep schedule. Staying on a routine, getting up and going to bed at the same time, every day, all seven days of the week
- Remain active. Keeping your activity level up is a great way to prepare your body for sleep. So enjoy family and friends, recreational activities and volunteer work, if it gets you moving.
- Enjoy the sun. Expose yourself to sunlight or bright lights every day for a few hours. This will strengthen your sleep/awake cycle.
- Go to bed when you feel tired.
- A “bedtime” routine will help you slow down your body and mind and prepare your body for sleep. This “bedtime” routine may include indulging in a hot bath, listening to calming music, prayer or meditation.
The next key to a good night’s sleep is to practice ongoing stress management. Stress, worry and anxiety are the cause of many sleepless nights. Learning to manage stress and anxiety will not only help you have a better night’s sleep, but can be beneficial for your all round general health.
Some stress reduction strategies to incorporate into your every day life are:
- Realize that you have the ability to control how you react to your thoughts. Changing the way you respond to your situation, changes your outlook and attitude. Your thoughts affect how you feel. So work on making those thoughts good thoughts.
- Have a sense of humor about things. Don’t take life so seriously. When you are responding to situations in life, try to see things from another perspective. Work at looking at things as an opportunity to change how you feel and respond, improve and let it be a growth experience. An example, might be, you think you can’t sleep. So instead of getting anxious and worried about the inability to sleep, work at trying to stay awake. Victor Frankel, renowned psychiatrist, calls our fear of sleeplessness, hyper- intention. Our increase worry about our inability to get a good night’s sleep reinforces to our body we can’t sleep. This approach, known as paradoxical intention, replaces the fear of sleeplessness, surely to keep one awake, with the intention of not falling asleep, which will lead to that good night’s sleep you are looking to get.
- Learn relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, and how to connect with your heart to decrease and alleviate stress in your life.
The next approach to a successful nights sleep is to eat right. Here are a few tips to follow:
- Avoid caffeine late in the day.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. It may make you fall asleep, but later will disturb your sleep cycle.
- Have a small snack before bedtime, even a warm glass of milk can delay hunger.
- Eat a smaller sized dinner, at least four hours before you retire. This will help you avoid any digestion problems.
- Limit your fluid intake about two hours before bedtime. This will decrease the amount of times you awaken to get out of bed.
The last key to a good night’s sleep is to remain active. Incorporate physical activity into your day. Walking, swimming, even chair exercises will promote a good night’s sleep.
Stop being stressed over losing another night’s sleep. The truth about sleep and aging is that you can, and should expect a good night’s sleep.
Diane Carbo Registered Nurse has more than thirty five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified to help those who want to live out their lives in their own homes. That decision may be made when you are 20, 30, 40 or in fact at any age, with sooner rather than later being ideal. Diane has developed a web site to make people aware of issues and options. You will find a mountain of helpful information that will be continually updated. Please visit http://www.aginghomehealthcare.com/cant-sleep.html sign up for Aging Home Health Care Ezine her free newlsetter and receive a complimentary copy of the Home Health Care Planning Guide.
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