Balance of Rest and Activity
Vital To Meet Senior Sleep Needs
The best way to have energy for activities during the waking hours is to have a good night’s sleep. How to get your senior sleep needs is good to know, to have the fullest and most vibrant life as we age.
Without fulfilling your sleep requirements, when you wake up in the morning, you may feel tired and listless, until you finally fall back asleep again.
The reverse is true. When you don’t have activities during the day that you enjoy, you may also find it harder to sleep well at night.
Benefits of a good night’s sleep
Your mind works better when it has rested at night. Decision-making is more sure, so there is less stress about the choices we make being good ones.
Sleeping properly also helps with weight control and overall wellness and physical health, studies show. Lack of a good night’s sleep reduces the levels of growth hormones in our bodies. The result is that muscles changes into fat. Lack of sleep also leads to the body craving energy. That leads to the release of glucose and insulin into the body, and the slowing of metabolism. The result is weight gain, more sluggishishness, and less sleep.
Without Proper Sleep, You Have a Sleep Loss Circle
It is more than a cycle of sleep and waking periods.
You feel less like moving without a good night’s sleep. Then you move less, and you sleep less. Your body gets fatter. Your muscles turn to fat. Your brain function is impaired. Anxiety , stress and depression lead to less sleep and less happiness in life.
Learning how to meet your sleep needs as a Senior can avoid this cycle: lack of sleep leads to more poor sleep and lower life quality. What to avoid:
Reduce your intake of caffeine. Don’t take any caffeine after eleven AM. That will give your body a chance to shed the caffeine by bedtime, and it will not impair your having a good night’s rest.
Nicotine is a stimulant. We all know smoking is bad for you. It would be best to give it up. But if you at least avoid smoking after 8 PM, you will help your body sleep and rest at night.
The same is true for alcohol. If you avoid alcohol, especially after 8 PM, you will sleep more restfully at night.
There are other medications that act as stimulants too. If you have to take them, try to do so with dinner, rather than later in the evening.
Snoring Can Cause Poor Sleep
If you, or your partner, snores a lot, it may be good to visit your doctor and talk about it. Most Seniors have medical coverage for senior sleep needs studies and treatments. Snoring can not only interrupt a good night’s sleep, but may be either an indicator or a cause of a bigger health issue.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The Dietary needs for Seniors change as we age. We need to make sure we are getting the vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients we need. Consult with your doctor about what nutrients your body needs.
This is such an important subject that we have a whole post about Senior Dietary Needs. Please take a look here.
Try Walking Each Day
Walking each day helps to loosen up our muscles, to make us more flexible and make movement easier. That helps lead to more movement and more effective and better-feeling exercise.
Start a walking program when you wake up in the morning. It is said that you will boost your metabolism and consume more fat if you exercise before you eat your breakfast. Have a glass of water and a cup of coffee or tea, take a walk, and then come back for breakfast.
You’ll notice a big change in how you feel the rest of the day. Some movement daily will help you get your senior sleep needs met with more restful sleep.
Movement helps to make our blood flow, bringing nutrients throughout the body and its organs. It affects the brain, reducing stress, depression and anxiety.
Start out by taking it slow and easy, at a pace and distance that makes you comfortable. Each day you can push yourself to go a little farther and a little faster if you want.
Ideal is to get yourself up to a steady brisk pace where you may perspire but will not be out of breath.
If you feel so inclined, one of the best exercise strategies is to vary your pace. Go slower and steady for about two minutes, then increase the pace so that you have a bit of sweat and faster heart rate for up to a minute. Then repeat that cycle 5 times. Start out walking at a slow steady pace for as far as your comfortable. Each day pick up the pace a bit and walk further.
It can be good to get out for a short walk before and after each meal. You may meet and greet neighbors taking their animals out, or also taking a walk, or sitting out at different times of the day.
The brief exercise can give you social interaction, and also bring calmness to you. It will of course, burn calories and get your blood moving.
It could be that people you don’t know well will want to start taking walks with you. As we age, loneliness is a factor in depression and anxiety and poor sleep. Just getting out regularly may open up new relationships for you.
Another Better Sleep Hint: Avoid TV in the Bedroom
Make your bedroom the place to sleep. Having a TV on while you are sleeping is not good for a restful night. It impairs your getting your senior sleep needs met.
The same is true for computers and tablets with video games. They are not conducive to a good night’s sleep.
Taking some calcium at bedtime can help. A warm glass of milk has been shown to help induce sleepiness. Tums can do the trick, too!
Some music to go to sleep by may be good. A book by the bed. Journaling may be something that works for you, to write about your day and your thoughts. Sometimes a good brain dump is a great way to clear the mind to settle down for sleep.
You may want to experiment with tapes on meditations, or affirmations to go to sleep with. These can work on your inner unconscious brain to give you inspiration and positive thoughts to help you in designing your life for the next day and weeks ahead.
Please comment below with what strategies you have found for yourself, or for the seniors in your life, to help them maintain a balance of Rest and Exercise, for healthy Design Living.