Sleep Disorders, Sleep Remedies & Insomnia Relief

     

Sleep Disorders and Your Age

Sleeping is a natural part of your life that you probably took for granted growing up. Once you are nearing retirement age however, this natural ability to fall asleep and stay asleep slowly loses its grip on you. Many older adults have problems sleeping and some just deal with it and think it is a part of the process of growing older. There are some steps you can take to increase your chances of getting a good nightís sleep.

First of all, as we grow older, the body produces less of the chemicals that help your body recognize when itís time to sleep and wake up. The main ingredient in this chemical makeup is melatonin. When this key chemical decreases, your inner clock, or circadian rhythm, is thrown off. You might find that you never really fall into a deep, restful sleep because you are waking up several times a night or have trouble even falling asleep or waking too early. This can be quite frustrating considering that you need the same amount of sleep that you did before. You sometimes might have to take naps to compensate for your tiredness during the day.

Getting older doesnít necessarily mean that you automatically have a sleep disorder or anything. Sometimes, there are a few things you can try that can help alter your sleep patterns. One of those things relates to the above paragraph where melatonin was referenced. You can buy melatonin in pill form from a pharmacy. After getting the o.k. from your doctor, follow the instructions for taking the melatonin, but be patient as it might take a few days for it to be really effective. The melatonin has been helpful for some people in ďreprogrammingĒ the body to recognize its own circadian rhythms.

Sometimes, it is a matter of changing your sleeping habits in order to get a good nightís sleep. One of the many suggestions doctors will tell older adults is to develop a bedtime routine and stick to it, even when traveling. You are training your body to expect sleep at a certain time, which will help improve your sleep patterns. Here are a few more suggestions for older adults in regards to getting a good, restful sleep:

Exercise is important, not only for your health, but also improving sleep. Because sleep is a rejuvenator, exercise can tire your body enough to where it needs that sleep to recuperate.

Keep your sleeping area cool, dark and quiet. Many older adults experience many body changes like menopause, so hot flashes are sometimes the norm. Keeping cool allows your body to advance from drowsiness to sleep. Dark and quiet time simulates the night, which helps keep your circadian rhythms in check.

Choose several relaxing activities and incorporate them into your bedtime routine. Soft music, a good book and even a glass of warm milk are all great ideas. Warm milk is especially helpful as it contains tryptophan, which is a natural sleep aid.

Journaling your day also helps you put your thoughts and worries on paper, so that your mind isnít clouded at bedtime. Stress and obsessing over events that happened in your day are several things that interfere with sleep patterns.

The problem with getting older is that you sometimes end up with additional health issues. These health issues can get in the way of a good nightís sleep. Arthritis, heart problems, reflux and stroke are just a few of the many conditions that play a part in insomnia and other sleep disorders. Medications for these conditions and others like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimerís disease are also culprits. Depression plays a role in sleeplessness as do chronic pain conditions. Talking with your doctor is important. Between the two of you, you can create a game plan which may or may not include sleep medications.

Just know that getting older does not mean you have to needlessly suffer from lack of sleep or rest. It is not normal and you have to be proactive in your approach to solve the problem. Whether it is simple lifestyle changes or something more major like medications to induce sleep, you have choices available to you for getting that restful sleep you need.

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