Around 60% of people over 65 report problems with their sleep on a regular basis.
As well as being tired Sleep disorders contribute to other diseases and injuries. The proportion of each condition attributable to a sleep disorder is as follows:
- 10.1% of depression
- 5.3% of stroke
- 7.5% of workplace injuries 6.3% of motor accidents.
This results in over 60% of seniors having increased stress hormone levels which makes sleep worse, decreases metabolism, energy levels and effects appetite. As a Chiropractor in Erina that specializes in looking after seniors I wanted to give you some great tips that will improve your vital sleep.
So we are going to go through five easy things that can help improve the way your body reacts to daily stresses so you aren’t reaching for the mid afternoon coffee and cake.
Because regular healthy sleep will:
- Boost metabolism (enough zzzz keeps excess weight off)
- Reduce “fuzzy brain” and other cognitive disruptions
- Ensure your immune system is optimal to fight colds, flus and other bugs.
- Stimulate your “creative juices”
- Lower stress making it easier to get involved in what you love.
- You have to have time for yourself! Do not go onto the other steps before prioritizing time for you. It could be sitting on the verandah with a cup of tea, get some exercise for 30 minutes, going for a walk, meditating for ten minutes or talking with a friend. Find what makes you happy and make sure you schedule time in your diary (just like the dental appointments you make that you would never miss). In fact there is a free meditation app called Onemomentmeditation that does a 5 minute meditation. Get it from the app store or contact us and we can send you the details.
- How are you going to sleep? Are you wired and fired or fatigued and flat? If you are having trouble getting to sleep here are our top tips. No screens (television, computer, kindle or ipad) for 30 minutes before bed time (the white light inhibits your pituitary). Use a red light in the lamp next to your bed (red spectrum light simulates sunset and helps your metabolism by stimulating melatonin release.) Wear socks! Cold peripheries effect your ability to get to sleep. Try almond butter. Mix up a knob of butter and some ground up almonds and have a small amount on a biscuit before bed time. The B vitamins in the almonds help with the depth of sleep and the fats in the butter help regulate blood sugars (low blood sugars often mean you will wake between 2 and 4 am). Exercising for 10 minutes in the morning before breakfast also helps speed up your metabolism throughout the day and helps you go to sleep.
- Don’t just lie there. The Mayo Clinic says that after about 15 minutes of not falling asleep, “you might find it even tougher to nod off.” Write a journal entry, try doing a crossword puzzle or sit next to your bed and perform some gentle stretches until you feel a little more tired — just remember, no logging onto the computer!
- Remove barriers hurting your sleep. Everyone is busy getting on with their lives, but when we commit to something it happens. We’ve driven 2 hours in the rain to get the last elsa doll on the shelf that we promised our little grandchild. To improve our sleep, we need the same level of commitment that we give everyone else. This means doing whatever it takes to make sleep a priority. Ask yourself “what is getting in the way of sleep?” Unplug the television. Buy those expensive noise-blocking curtains. Take measures needed to follow through on your commitment to yourself.
- Break that stubborn lack of sleep cycle Your body responds to routine (just like your kids did)
- Breathing in 100% pure lavender oil and putting it on pressure points or on your pillow.
- Listening to ocean sounds (my favorite app Relax Melodies)
- Take a warm bath
- Journaling (also good if you wake in the middle of the night)
- Drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea
Meditative breathing or yoga nidra (the best one I think is the app Yoga Nidra Lite).
Your chiropractic visits are crucial as they help decrease your stress hormones. The spinal adjustment will also help relax the muscles and promote proper nose breathing. Your Chiropractor will also give you a number of special breathing exercises that will work to bring more oxygen into your body and to help retrain your respiration patterns. They will also make Recommendations for any changes needed in your diet and lifestyle.