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3 Tips for Healthy Sleep

By January 7, 2015Aging in Place

Tonight, plenty of people will rest their head against their pillow, close their eyes, and remain awake as they are unable to get the recommended hours of sleep. It’s no secret that people have trouble falling asleep at night. However, as you age, the more difficult it is for you to get the right amount of sleep. A person over the age of 40 may realize that their ability to sleep is declining, that it’s harder for them to fall asleep, and easier for them to wake in the middle of the night. Luckily, there are tactics in order to get the proper amount of sleep. They are as follows:

Exercise
In a study by Northwestern University, participants above the age of 55 were asked to exercise four times a week for 20 minutes a day. All of these participants complained of having poor sleep habits and noted that they were pretty sedentary with their days. After the completion of the study, those who exercised noted that their ability to sleep had increased. They were upgraded from poor sleep health to good sleep health. A simple 20-minute walk four times a week might be all that you need in order to catch more Zzzz’s.

Reduce Stress
This is obviously easier said than done. Nevertheless, the first step in reducing stress is figuring out where it comes from. Are you overloaded at work? Is a loved one sick? Do you have projects at home to tend to? Whatever it may be, it’s important to identify what’s providing you stress in your life.

The second step is to manage your thoughts. A lot of what goes on inside your mind can affect how you feel. It’s important to recognize self-destructive thoughts that may place a burden on your mind. You’re not a failure because the house is dirty. You’re not a wreck because you forgot to do the dishes last night. Manage these internal thoughts that can affect your physical health.

Once you have a grasp on what causes your stress and how to prevent it from bothering you, a good night’s sleep is in your near future. It’s a lot easier to turn your mind off at night when you’re not racking your brain attempting to identify all the negatives that occurred in your day. Positive thinking goes a long way when it comes to your health.

Lower Your Sugars
Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. Most people relinquish this problem with a cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee, in fact there are some studies that suggest it lowers your chances of Parkinson’s disease. However when you’re drinking multiple cups a day and adding sugar to each drink, it takes a serious toll on your sleep cycle as sugars not only keep you awake, but they increase your chances of putting on weight.

This makes it tougher to sustain energy for longer. You’ll become more and more tired during the day, causing you to drink or eat more sugary things, decreasing your chances of sleeping at night. It’s a nasty cycle that can go unnoticed. You may think you’re doing yourself a service by having a cup of coffee at 3 pm, keeping you alert for the rest of the day, but you’re actually putting yourself back a few steps. Try substituting your sugars for healthy snacks like fruits or veggies. You’ll see a significant difference in the way you feel and the way you sleep!

Image Credit – http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1711866/thumbs/o-ELDERLY-MAN-SLEEPING-facebook.jpg

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