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Age & Sleeplessness

Have you noticed that as you age, genuine, deep sleep is more & more difficult to attain?  Many people blame this sleeplessness on the aging process, but is it right to do so?  There are also, certainly, many older persons who can sleep well through the night.  So what steps can we take to try to have a good night's rest?

First, ensure that you have been active enough during the day.  As we age and go into retirement or stop working a regular job, it oftentimes gets harder to sleep at night, but not because of any health concerns.  Rather it is because enough energy has not be expended during the day to make us sufficiently tired at night.  Though our minds may refute this argument, the truth is, our bodies NEED certain levels of work or activity throughout the day in order to rest properly at night.  If they do not have that level of activity, they also do not recognize the need for rest.  Try your best to raise your activity level during the day, finding work that's appropriate for you and your abilities at this stage of your life.  Work at it with joy & later enjoy a more restful night's sleep.

Another helpful step that one should take is to establish a regular routine of waking and sleeping.  Sometimes, as we age, our schedules can be thwarted out of boredom.  We find ourselves dozing at various times during the day & not being able to sleep later, or staying up later watching television and sleeping in later in the morning.  Whatever schedule you decide makes you feel best, you should stick with it on a daily basis in order to obtain the most restful night's sleep possible for yourself.  Our sleep patterns are rhythmic & throwing off the rhythm can have adverse effects of our rest at night.

Also, cutting off any screen time in the evenings a couple of hours before sleeping should help to notify your body that it's time to begin winding down to rest.  Choose quieter activities that are not as stimulating, such as crossword puzzles, restful music, reading books, playing solitaire, etc.  Help your body to be able to identify the cut off time from evening activities to sleeping time by establishing a nightly routine.  Soon enough, you will find yourself longing for that time of day & looking forward to the rest that comes with it!

Finally, if you are still having problems sleeping after all of these steps, talk with your doctor about it & see if he/she can suggest any other steps you could take. Melatonin is an option for some people, others need something a little stronger in order to help them set the rhythm of sleep again.  Before you head to the doctor, however, be sure that you've tried everything in your power to re-gain sleep in a natural way.  Your body & mind will thank you for it!

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