Saturday, February 24, 2018 18:10

Living Long Secret, Sleep Enough

Posted by on Sunday, January 17, 2010, 15:20
This news item was posted in Aging, News category and has 0 Comments so far.

Living Long  Secret, Sleep Enough. Sleep is the third element of the health triad composed of nutrition, exercise, and rest. Food and activity without adequate rest cannot be sustained without cost. It is true that many of us can go months and even years on four to five hours a night, but the deficit is cumulative and costs us in decreased performance.

Sleep deprivation is a national epidemic. Thousands of disasters, small and large, are due to this condition. Beware of “sleep attacks.” Two major synchronizes of your day’s wakeful/sleep cycle are light and physical exercise.

Both give your brain the cues to say goodnight; however, both of these natural cures have also become distorted by our contemporary existence patterns.

The story becomes even more complicated with older persons. Daily cycles change. Some older people seem to need more sleep, others less, but most tend both to sleep and wake earlier. Their sleep patterns also tend to become more fragmented.

Older people spend more time in bed than younger people but may actually sleep less. They have lower levels of arousal, and thus of the good rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It is difficult to determine if the disturbed sleep of older people results from the process of aging or inactivity.

It has been shown that after physical exercise older people experience a substantial decrease in the length of time it takes to fall asleep and they sleep longer. There are other ways to alter sleep time: a warm bath two hours before the desired sleep time can often do the trick, as a decrease in body temperature helps promote sleep.

Alternately, delay of the evening meal to around 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. can also reset the sleep clock. The Gallup organization reported that a third of Americans suffer from insomnia, resulting in trouble concentrating, irritability, fatigue, accidents, impaired personal relationships, and difficulty in getting work done during waking hours.

This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, not only by those who identify their insomnia as a problem, but also for most of us as we age.

Some things help:

1.    Be quiet, dark, and warm.

2.    Worry early, not late.

3.    Avoid stimulants.

4.    Be regular.

5.    Have a mate.

6.    Befit.

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