Sleeping is an Important Form of Exercise

There are so many articles out now about sleep and its benefits. I chose a very beautifully written one and hope you will learn enough and begin to take sleeping as a form of exercise and see how much better your body performs after a week or two. My late husband was in bed religiously at 10 and he did live with vigorous abilities to 93. I’m sad that I didn’t join him as he requested I do so!

This is what this organization had to say: Sleep is a vital mechanism, regardless of your age. It can restore energy levels and heal both physical and cognitive damage. A regular sleeping pattern of 7.5–9 hours per night is recommended to help people function at their best. However, as we get older, several factors combine and make this harder to achieve.

The most notable change is a decrease in the levels of melatonin—the hormone that governs our sleeping patterns—within our bodies. Our elders are also more likely to be woken up by health complaints or minor disturbances, and often have trouble falling asleep at the desired time.

So, what are the benefits of longer sleep? There are many benefits to a well-regulated sleeping routine; it can improve both overall health and quality of life.

  • Increased alertness during waking hours
    • Enhanced memory and attention span
    • Reduced medication usage
    • Reduced symptoms of depression
    • Improved cardiovascular health
    • Reduced stress and anxiety
    • Regulated appetite
    • Reduced risk of falling
    • A happier, more engaged lifestyle. Disrupted sleep often leads to older people spending longer in bed or sleeping at intervals throughout the day to catch up.

Common causes of disrupted sleep include:

• Stress or trauma
• Medication
• Illness/physical pain (including arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, acid reflux and Alzheimer’s)

There are also several ways you can minimize disrupted sleep, including:

  • Promoting an active and regular daily routine that includes both physical and social activities
    • Ensuring the bedroom is quiet, dark and cool (removing or restricting audible or visual distractions)
    • Encouraging a balanced nutritional intake (including protein-rich foods with tryptophan, such as white meat, dairy or nuts/seeds)
    • Optimizing melatonin levels by getting adequate sunlight, using low wattage bulbs (where safe) and switching off all non-backlit screens one hour before bed
    • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule, waking and going to bed at the same times each day
    • Limiting use of stimulants (caffeine, sugar or alcohol)
    • Trying a soothing pre-bedtime routine, such as bathing or reading. I have tried to go to sleep earlier than my typical 1am regimen and making progress. Now I am in bed from 11:30 to 12:30. TV shows keep me so involved! It’s my dog, Jack that stares at me to take him to bed, so he is a big help. Dogs are great to sleep with!

(This excellent article was from The Good Care Group.)