By Sarah Jones, Editor of Sleepy Deep
Having trouble sleeping? Waking up every few hours? As we age our bodies change and our needs change. Diet, sleep, exercise. Things that once came easy are now more difficult.
Women, in particular, may have to increase vitamin and mineral intake, change the way they get exercise and our sleep requirement or indeed, the way we sleep, changes. Hot flashes, aches and pains, worry or just our body telling us we need less sleep can all play a part in our lack of proper sleep. Let’s look at a few ways we can improve our sleeping patterns.
A proper, regular routine is important. Later in life, if we are working less or not at all, we sometimes get out of our regular routine. Having a set time to go to bed and get up can help you get some definite structure and return you back to a time when you had a regular, full-night’s sleep. This allows your body and mind to be prepared for sleep.
2. Regular Exercise
A regular routine for bedtime, a regular routine for exercise, it all adds to keeping you healthy and can help with sleep. Fresh air and exercise. We all need it, maybe more than ever. A good brisk walk in the morning, with your partner or maybe a group of friends or just some like-minded people in your neighbourhood.
Often times, working out with a friend of a group will keep you motivated and encouraged to keep going and the results are always better in the long run. Try a yoga class for relaxation, exercise and good training for breathing, discipline and toning body and mind.
3. Caffeine, Sugar and Alcohol
It might seem obvious but not all caffeine and alcohol announce themselves in our food and drink. That cup of tea before bed may relax you while you’re drinking it, but it may also have elevated levels of caffeine you are unaware of. Many sodas have high levels of sugar and caffeine. Always check them.
Soda and other beverages may be the cause of frequent urination during the night and should be eliminated several hours before bedtime. We may think we get a better night sleep after a few good belts of our favourite adult beverage, and you do, for the first few hours, but once the effect of alcohol wears off, sleep will be disturbed, fitful and almost impossible.
Whether it’s you or your partner who snores, this can be the worst. It may be just a matter of sleeping position or it could be something worse. Sleep apnea, high blood pressure, blockage, it’s always best to consult a medical professional, in particular if this is a fairly new occurrence. If it’s just a matter of snoring, you may need to consider sleeping separately. If this is an ongoing problem, the National Sleep Foundation have some useful information.
Our bedrooms can and should be a place of pride, comfort and relaxation. Having the right surroundings where you sleep make a huge difference in how you sleep. Temperature, colour, textures, odours all play such an important part.
A cool breeze from an open window is perfect unless it also allows the noise of the traffic or neighbourhood party in. The bedroom should be for intimate endeavours only. Sleep and sex. If you have a home office or other distractions your bedroom, try to move it to another area of the home. Low, soft lighting, a delicate scented candle, and minimal distractions all make for a better night’s sleep.
6. Frequent Waking
Irritating as it is, waking up in the middle of the night or several times a night becomes more frequent as we age. We do seem to require less sleep. Don’t give in to it. Try to avoid lights, this includes opening up your phone or computer. Try to avoid the television, as well.
Don’t get up, don’t eat anything and don’t toss and turn or wake up your partner. Try to remain relaxed and fall back to sleep. You may need to move your bedtime to a later hour and perhaps do something to tire yourself or relax before bed. Reading is often helpful for many to fall asleep but in the middle of the night, the light may be more disturbing for you and your partner.
7. Worry and Anxiety
If you have something gnawing at your mind or consciousness, you may need to address it before you’ll get proper sleep. Try talking about it to someone, or ask for help from friends, family or a professional. Often times, our fears may be unfounded and with a bit of friendly chat and advice we can ease our minds.
8. Sleep Aids
Many people simply turn to sleeping pills or medication. This isn’t always the best solution. There can be mild to severe side effect to taking sleeping pills, mixing medications or mixing sleeping pills with alcohol. You may have allergies or complications from taking medication to help you sleep and you should always learn as much as you can before taking them. Consult your medical professional and understand exactly what you are taking when you take any kind of sleep aid. WebMD is a good place to start for information, but your doctor should be the voice of reason.
9. Wrapping Up
Hopefully we have provided some useful information for your sleep concerns but always look at your own unique situation. Are you worried? Maybe you are ill or maybe it’s just a simple matter of changing your diet and routine. Whatever your solution, Sweet Dreams!
Sarah Jones is the Editor of Sleepy Deep. Feeling the repercussions of being an irregular sleeper for far too long, she decided to do something about it. She learned why sleep is so important and how to maximize it, and is now helping others who are struggling to find their right sleep routine.