Scores of studies show that getting between seven and eight hours of sleep each night is essential for optimal performance and energy levels. But as our bodies get older, our sleep cycles change. In fact, it’s not unnatural for older folks to wake up two or three times during the night and have general trouble sleeping soundly.
What’s to blame for this? Research has shown that simple changes take place inside our bodies the older we get. For example:
- Sleep becomes lighter with less time spent in “deep sleep”
- Hormones like melotonin aren’t produced as frequently
- Less sleep is needed altogether for the body to recharge
However, decreased levels of sleep don’t mean symptoms of insomnia shouldn’t be ignored. Getting better sleep is still just as important to someone who’s 65 as it is to a young child who’s still growing and developing. That’s why learning how to have better sleep and more restful nights can literally make you feel younger. It might help to try out a few of these options when you find yourself getting older and want to sleep better at night.
1. Engage yourself.
Try to stay as socially active as you can in order to naturally tire your body out before you lie down for bed. If you’re still getting regular exercise, stick with that, but also don’t neglect your social life. Talk to friends or volunteer at a local shelter a few nights a week. Do everything you can to earn your sleep.
2. Take a long walk after dinner.
This work best in the summertime when the sun’s still up until 9 p.m. or so. The physical exercise will help, but so will the sunlight. Your body will produce more melatonin and prepare itself naturally for a good night’s sleep. Plus, your waistline will thank you in the coming weeks.
3. Invest in a better mattress.
Nothing says a better night sleep than adjustable beds for the elderly. Regular mattresses tend to be flat while our spines are actually S-shaped. This causes gaps where our backs simply aren’t supported, leading to more restless nights. But adjustable beds for the elderly (and for folks who simply need an ergonomic upgrade) can help ease spinal tension, creating a more natural and comfortable bed to enjoy every night.
It’s possible to get the best sleep of your life even as you age into your 60s (and beyond). All it takes is a little more work while the sun is up. Continue reading here.