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Sleep Articles of Interest:

Eliminate Sleep Problems Forever

Sleep and Health

How much sleep to live a longer, more productive life?

Sleep and Health in Our Busy Lives

Also, See Sleep Medication:

Ambien: A Very Popular Sleep Medication

Fitness and Wellness Articles:

The Facts Behind Aging - Nutrition

Nurturing the Mind-Body Connection Through Relaxation

Our Destiny Involves Each of Us Taking Responsibility for Our Own Health

Dietary Supplements for Anti-Aging

Top 5 Anti-Aging Systems Explained

Theories of Aging Page #2

Theories of Aging Part I

5 Tibetan Rites: Discover the Secret to Youth and Anti Aging

Staying Young the Japanese Way  Page 2

Staying Young - the Japanese Way

Conquer Sleep Problems for a Younger You   

Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Cure with Green Tea

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 Eliminate Sleep Problems Forever in 16 Easy Steps. 

 

Sleep problems have been a problem for nearly everyone at some time in their life, but seem to increasingly become more difficult as we age.  Sleep problems or lack thereof have also been identified as a pretty good indicator of mental and physical health. Everyone may have a problem now and then. Situational anxiety, stress, grief or illness, may interfere with restful sleep, causing sleep problems to arise when insufficient, excessive or poor quality sleep becomes routine. 

Unfortunately, sleep problems and insomnia seem to feed on themselves somewhat.  Several sleepless nights can lead to significant fatigue during the daytime requiring daytime naps, which may become disruptive to your sleep-wake cycle.  Also, the resulting anxiety, nervousness, irritability and problems concentrating may also make your normal daily routine a nightmare. 

 
As people grow older, some experts believe that they need less sleep and that they may spend less time in the deepest levels of sleep. Frustration may become a large problem when you spend your time staring at the clock for long periods of time in the middle of the night. 

According to a recent study in Geriatrics in 2004, it was noted that over half of adults over the age of 65 experience sleep problems not because of their age but because of other factors associated with the passing of years.  Depression, memory problems, falls, and generally a poorer quality of life in older adults can be the result of chronic insomnia.  Difficulty sleeping can lead to many problems in the way the body functions in everyday life.  In her book Successful Aging, Mary OíBrien M.D. recommended 16 easy steps to try for three weeks, which is how long she states that it takes to develop a new habit. 

16 tips to eliminate sleep problems forever: 

  • Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleeping or lovemaking. Eat, write, read, or watch TV elsewhere.
  • Keep the bedroom cool, dark, quiet, and clean.
  • Exercise enough to get physically tired every day but avoid exertion after dinner.
  • Keep caffeine to a minimum and have it before noon.
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine.
  • Eliminate daytime naps.
  • Establish a bedroom routine (e.g. hot bath, skin care, selecting tomorrowís clothes, etc.)
  • Relax with a period of quiet time, soft music, or reading before going to bed.
  • Keep a clear conscience.
  • If you canít sleep, donít stay in bed.  Get up and read or putter around the house.
  • Force yourself to stay up until youíre really sleepy.  Donít go to bed at 8 p.m. just because youíre bored.
  • Donít eat tomato products, greasy snacks or spicy foods if they give you heartburn.  Heartburn gets worse when you lie down, and can make falling asleep difficult.  The discomfort of heartburn can also awaken some people in the middle of the night.
  • Restrict fluids before bedtime to limit awakenings during the night to urinate.
  • If noise is disturbing your sleep (say, the rumble of passing trains or your partnerís snoring) consider earplugs, rugs or drapes to muffle the sound, relaxing music or tapes.
  • Make sure your mattress is comfortable or supportive.  Some good ways to know if you need a new mattress: You wake up with your back aching or you sleep better when youíre away from home.

Itís always a good idea to ask your aging family members if they are having any sleep problems.  Itís difficult to have good physical or mental health without rejuvenating, restful sleep.  Also, several conditions including lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, prostate problems and hot flashes may impair your sleep.  Thus, it is important to recognize that an underlying medical condition could actually be an important indicator of a sleep problem. 

Information adapted from Successful Aging by Mary OíBrien, M.D.

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate    

                                 

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