Insomnia can strike at any age, more serious sleep problems can creep in from the forties onwards, thanks to the menopause, stress, and minor ailments.
The over sixties report far more trouble sleeping then any other group. 50% struggle either getting to sleep or to stay unconscious beyond the early hours.
The idea that older people need less sleep is a myth, it’s simply that for many people, it becomes harder to sleep for many reasons – medical, physical and emotional. You may find you need to go to the toilet more, physical pain wakes you, or snoring!
Insomnia is defined as 3 or 4 nights of very bad sleep a week. It affects 10 – 25% of the population. Causes can include stress, pain, young children, anxiety, illness, environment, depression and hormones. This can make you perpetually grumpy, angry, anxious, frustrated and lonely.
Let me give you a few tips to help you take control of your sleep pattern:-
1. Don’t go to bed too early if you are waking the early hours of the morning – If you fall asleep watching TV, then have a bath and read before going to bed to make sure you are tired again.
2. Don’t drink alcohol 2 hours before sleep time – The older generation may be drinking too much without realising it. There is a tendency to drink more as we age. Initially it’s a sedative, but it’s raises heart rate, heats the body and causes dehydration which in turn wakes us.
3. Blood pressure or cholesterol medication can certainly affect sleep quality. There could be an alternative option of medicine so speak with your GP, or you could eat a healthy diet and exercise to help with your sleep.
4. Don’t drink too much water in the evening to avoid waking for the toilet. Cut out caffeine in tea and coffee late at night and replace with a herbal drink. Take a small glass of water to bed with you.
5. Eat light at night – eat breakfast like a king and lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper – do not go to bed hungry though, have a hot cocoa milky drink if you feel hungry.
6. Do light exercise or stretching or yoga. This will enhance sleep. Walking is great exercise as does not stress you. Do not overdo it, as you will trigger cortisol your stress hormone. Keep joints flexible by stretching, do meditation or relaxation to calm anxiety.
7. Get some fresh air in your bedroom at night. Sleeping in a stuffy room can seriously impair sleep quality.
8. Avoid Caffeine as we get more sensitive to it as we get older. Caffeine is in fizzy drinks and green tea too so be aware of your intake, and try to replace with herbal, lemon or peppermint or caffeine free.
9. Most older people snore – medication, being overweight and dehydrated can all cause this. Snoring should not interrupt your sleep, but cut down on alcohol, smoking and beware of antihistamines as these relax the airwaves and can cause snoring. If it means sleeping in a spare bedroom do it!!!
Finally, practicing mindfulness and teaching yourself to relax and live in the moment. If you are lying awake worrying you can end up in a cycle of insomnia where you are exhausted all day. Mindfulness teaches you to focus only on the moment: how your pillow feels, sounds you can hear, your breathing. It’s a hugely effective way to train yourself to fall sleep. Make space for your thoughts, allow them to happen and don’t fight them. Why actively challenge a negative thought? Don’t force yourself to sleep but let go of tension and emotions and you will fall to sleep.
At SK-Lifefitness we teach meditation, relaxation, and mindset techniques swell as Reiki Healing. The Hormone Rebalancing Programme incorporates it all into the package as a holistic approach to health and fitness.
Call today for FREE Hormone Screening.