Don’t you just hate it when you can’t go to sleep at night? Tossing and turning, looking at the clock, more tossing and turning. Come daybreak though you’re finally ready to snooze because you’re so exhausted and have been awake all night. I’ve been researching and will hopefully remedy this problem for myself.
Dictionary.com defines sleep as: to take the rest afforded by a suspension of voluntary bodily functions and the natural suspension, complete or partial, of consciousness; cease being awake.
The definition of sleep from Merriam-Webster is: the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored.
Ah, sounds so relaxing – suspension of voluntary bodily functions during which the powers of the body are restored.
Just how many hours of sleep do we need? See the recommend sleep times according to age per the Sleep Foundation.
The Mayo Clinic says that insomnia becomes more common with age. As you get older, you may experience:
• Changes in sleep patterns. Sleep often becomes less restful as you age, so noise or other changes in your environment are more likely to wake you. With age, your internal clock often advances, so you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. But older people generally still need the same amount of sleep as younger people do
• Changes in activity. You may be less physically or socially active. A lack of activity can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Also, the less active you are, the more likely you may be to take a daily nap, which can interfere with sleep at night
• Changes in health. Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis or back problems as well as depression or anxiety can interfere with sleep. Issues that increase the need to urinate during the night ―such as prostate or bladder problems ― can disrupt sleep. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome become more common with age
• More medications. Older people typically use more prescription drugs than younger people do, which increases the chance of insomnia associated with medication
Most of us have probably heard of circadian rhythms. They are defined by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences as physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things, including animals, plants and many tiny microbes.
In addition to influencing your sleep-wake cycles, these rhythms also influence hormone release and your body’s temperature. Abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with insomnia, seasonal affective disorder, as well as obesity, diabetes, and depression.
After researching many sources, I’ve concluded that for me to hopefully get to sleep and stay asleep, I should do the following:
• Make sleep a priority for my health and well being
• Get adequate exposure to natural light to maintain the sleep-wake cycle with my circadian rhythm
• Limit my napping during the day
• Go to sleep at the same time every night as well as get up the same time every morning
• Don’t use caffeine, and don’t eat foods that can cause indigestion before I go to bed
• Turn off my electronics (tv, cell phone, tablet, computer) an hour or more before I go to bed
• Try a warm shower or soothing bath with aromatic essential oils
• Try reading before going to bed
• Make sure my bedroom is at a good temperature that is comfortable
• My mattress and pillows need to be comfortable as well
• Try using a sound machine with pleasant sounds for drifting off to sleep
• Try a fan on the low setting to hear the gentle sound of the blades as they rotate
• Try playing peaceful music on low volume
I’m going to make a serious effort to try these suggestions and see what happens. Do you have trouble going to sleep at night or staying asleep until morning? Have you found anything that helps you?
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