Sleep Like a Baby by Glen Barnett

sleep
Sleep like a Baby? Not Likely!

Sleeping like a baby may be something Baby Boomers would dream about, if only they could stay asleep, or at least get to sleep in the first place.

Having trouble sleeping is not uncommon especially as you get older.   The average person needs 7-9 hours of good quality sleep regardless of their age.  This may vary person to person but the quality of your sleep is what’s important.

There are many factors as we age that can affect the quality of our sleep from side effects of medications, sleep apnoea, prostate or incontinence troubles, stimulants from food or beverages we consume or even restless leg syndrome.

Lack of good quality sleep can exacerbate some of these issues resulting in a vicious cycle. Lack of good quality sleep may cause irritability, depression, weight issues and possibly make you more prone to illnesses and accidents.  One of the most common causes of poor sleep quality is stress.  Some people reading this article will wake at night tossing, turning and stressing about how to have quality sleep. As I said it’s a vicious cycle.

So what to do?  I’m always a believer in looking at lifestyle changes to help you so try going to the bed and waking at the same time every day.  TV and computers may be too stimulating for your brain so choose another activity to wind down with at night.  If your nocturnal mental ramblings are the culprit get up and write them down, then tell yourself you will ‘deal’ with them tomorrow.   Don’t look at the clock when you wake – it sets your mind alarm into the pattern of always waking at that time.  Decrease the amount of liquid you consume a couple of hours prior to going to bed to reduce the need to pay a penny during the night. Investing in a body pillow to wrap yourself around may help with your physical aches and pains.  Talk to your naturopath or GP about your need for magnesium and calcium which may alleviate those restless legs and ask if your other medications may be adding to your sleep woes.  Put a peg over your husbands (or your) nose to prevent the snoring – just kidding. Talk to your GP about this problem as it may be more serious than you think.  If you’re a Nana napper,  rethink or reduce your nap duration.     Avoid caffeine and sugar at bedtime and get your stimulus from daily exercise and a good old fashion dose of direct sunshine to help with your wake/sleep cycle.

If all else fails have some peace of mind in knowing that people who say they ‘sleep like a baby’ probably don’t have one or remember what it was like, to have had one.

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