Sleep experts tell us that sleep problems become more common as we get older. Nearly half of all adults over 60 suffer from insomnia and it’s a common problem for postmenopausal women. Research also indicates that people who don’t sleep well tend to snack more, which causes them to gain weight, which interferes with their sleep. Not good.
Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Stop medicating yourself with food, drink and pills. Simply start exercising regularly, several times a week to improve your quality of sleep.
A Northwestern University School of Medicine study, found that participants sleep improved markedly for those who exercised regularly compared to those who participated in activities such as cooking class, art and other social activities without physical therapy. The non-exercise group, showed no improvement in sleep quality, daytime sleepiness or depression.
Sleep is an essential part of health and as important as good nutrition. By improving a person’s sleep, you can improve their physical and mental health. If a person isn’t sleeping well, they are more likely to be in poor health with problems managing their hypertension or diabetes — Northwestern’s Sleep Disorders Center.
In addition to getting regular physical therapy, try these tips for older adults who may be having trouble getting enough sleep at night:
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. It helps your body establish a sleep-wake cycle and will help you fall asleep more easily.
Avoid caffeine at least six hours before sleep time so your body has time to eliminate its stimulant effects.
Avoid alcohol before bedtime. (You may think it’s a sedative, but it actually disrupts sleep.)
Get out in the bright light during the day. Then at night, dim the lights and make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, quiet and comfortable.
Exercise in the morning, go to sleep earlier. Being well-rested not only improves performance, but it will also reduce inflammation and joint pain and speed up healing times when you’re injured (conversely, lack of sleep prolongs healing).