If you have ever spent a night tossing and turning, you know how elusive the simple and natural act of sleep can sometimes be. It’s common to lose a few night’s sleep over the course of a lifetime, but if it’s a habit or pattern, you’ll want to take action.
How important is sleep?
As it turns out, very. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s findings on sleep deprivation, we need restful sleep just as much as we need to eat, drink and breath. Without it, there’s an increased risk of physical, mental and emotional health problems, including:
- Injuries (particularly fall-related)
- Heart and kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Loss of productivity
- Loss of purpose
Benefits of sleep
Many people believe they can get by on little sleep, but your body and brain need an adequate amount to function correctly. If you’re searching for tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, the main thing to remember is that it’s not just quantity that matters. Getting quality sleep is just as important.
You’ll know you missed the mark if you experience these symptoms:
- Feeling tired during the day
- Trouble learning or focusing
- Feeling frustrated or worried
- Trouble reacting
- Struggling to make decisions and solve problems
- Trouble controlling your emotions and behavior
- Not feeling refreshed or alert when you wake up
We need quality sleep to maintain optimum mental and physical health, help with healing and repairing our bodies, and keep our brain functioning properly. It can also enhance our memory and improve our immune system.
What Keeps Us Awake?
If you’re one who struggles with getting enough sleep, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports around 7-19% of adults in the U.S., an estimated 50 - 70 million Americans, report having chronic sleep disorders.
Insomnia is more common than you might guess. Those who experience this sleep disorder find it hard to go to sleep, stay asleep or get quality sleep. Short-term insomnia can last for a few days to a few weeks. Long-term insomnia occurs three or more nights a week, lasts for more than three months and can’t be explained by any other reason.
If you’re experiencing insomnia, the cause might be one or more of the following:
- Age: While it can occur at any time, the chance of experiencing insomnia increases with age.
- Genes: Insomnia has been known to run in families. Genetics can also influence whether you’re a light or deep sleeper.
- Environment: If you work nights, different shifts, or travel frequently to different time zones, insomnia may be a problem.
- Behavior: Insomnia can be common if you don’t keep a regular sleep schedule, your sleep is often interrupted, you aren’t active during the day, or you watch television or electronic devices close to bedtime.
- Stress: The more stress or worry you have increases your risk of insomnia. Unfortunately, worrying about not getting enough sleep and constantly watching the clock can also contribute to lack of rest.
- Gender: Insomnia is more common in women than in men.
Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
Try these suggestions to improve your sleep. If insomnia persists, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help your mind and body prepare for rest.
Try not to exercise right before bedtime and refrain from taking electronics to bed. The light and activity sends your brain the message that it’s time to be awake, not asleep.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal within two hours of bedtime
Digestion isn’t conducive to rest, so try to keep your snacking to a minimum before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine after early afternoon
The effects of caffeine can last as long as eight hours. Try decaffeinated beverages like herbal tea or water.
- Exercise and stay active during the day
Keeping a regular exercise routine can help you feel ready for rest at night.
- Create an environment perfect for sleep in your bedroom
Remove your television, turn the lights down and maintain a cool room temperature for good sleep.
- Use relaxation techniques
Try soothing music, a warm bath or reading. Meditation is also a good way to settle your mind before trying to rest.
- Don’t make sleep the first thing you give up
If you’re busy, don’t borrow from your sleep hours. Treat rest as the important element it is.
- Keep a sleep diary
Keep track of the hours leading up to bedtime and how effective you were able to sleep. Look for patterns that may give you clues as to why some nights are less restful than others.
- You can’t catch up on lost sleep
If you shortchange yourself an hour or two of needed rest every night, it will add up quickly. Napping during the day or sleeping more on weekends doesn’t give you the same benefits as you’d get during the night.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re wondering whether a senior living community could be the right choice for you, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.