February 5, 2018

Age 8 or 80, We All Need a Good Night’s Sleep

An ongoing lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep increases your risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and obesity.  It is also linked to memory problems, forgetfulness, and more falls or accidents.  From the National Institute on Aging:

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  This is what your body needs to recover and recharge.  Some may need more, some less, but 7-9 hours is recommended.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. We know it can be tempting to lay in bed on a dreary weekend and doze on and off all day, but it really is better for your sleep to try to stay on a schedule.
  • Find ways to relax before bedtime each night. Meditating or praying or reading yourself to sleep (like me!) helps relax your body and mind. Just don’t read something that will scare you all night long.
  • Avoid distractions, such as cell phones, computers, and televisions in your bedroom.  We can all agree that most people spend too much time on their mobile phones; it sounds tough, but put it down and don’t worry about it.
  • Don’t eat large meals, or drink caffeine or alcohol late in the day.  You may think that caffeine doesn’t have an effect on how awake you are, but it does.  Drinking coffee or soda will keep you up.  And you don’t want heartburn or other indigestion.
  • Exercise at regular times each day, but not within 3 hours of your bedtime.  I know it sounds like a broken record, but exercise really is good for all of you:  Mind and Body and Sleep! Just do it earlier in the day.  Thankfully, in El Dorado, we have some great outdoor facilities for walking and Healthworks Fitness Center has personal trainers who can plan an exercise program with you, no matter your size, experience or age.

For more information, visit the National Institute on Aging at www.nia.nih.gov and, as always, if you have an ongoing problem with sleep or any other health issue, please speak with your doctor.