Last week, the ‘Health’ page of the BBC News app gave some tips for a good night’s sleep for the over 50’s. Apparently as we age, our sleep patterns change and we wake more during the night and earlier in the morning. Yes, I can vouch for this!
Getting the right amount of good sleep protects us from all kinds of problems that can affect our brains and bodies, and poor sleep increases the risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes says a report written by The Global Council on Brain Health, a panel of experts convened by Age UK and the American Association of Retired Persons.
The report recommends that older people get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, and gives the following tips on how to achieve this:
- Avoid tea and coffee.
- Keep daytime naps shorter than half an hour.
- Get up at the same time every day.
- Get outside for some natural sunlight during the daytime.
- Don’t drink alcohol to help you sleep.
- Try to eat dinner about 3 hours before going to bed.
- Don’t look at an electronic screen of any kind after you get into bed – tablet, phone, laptop etc (my husband is always telling me about this one!).
- Avoid using over-the-counter sleep preparations.
- Avoid arguments before going to bed.
- Don’t sleep with pets in the bedroom.
- Wear socks to keep your feet warm in bed.
The report also says that for those struggling to get to sleep at night, get up and find another quiet place to relax until you feel sleepy, or if you tend to doze off in front of the TV, then go out and walk around a bit to keep alert.
I agree with most of these except that I couldn’t sleep with socks on or with pets in the bedroom, but I do tend to sit up and look at the iPad if I’m awake during the night. I’ve been waking up a couple of times at night for at least 40 years, and so it’s quite the norm for me.
Are you an insomniac, or do you sleep all night? I must say, you’re very lucky if you can go 8 hours without waking up. The only time I can do this is if I have a general anaesthetic!