Two ways to achieve a better nights sleep
As we get older we can find our sleep patterns change - where we once may have been a deep and reliable sleeper, we may now find ourselves waking frequently or too early, or having trouble falling asleep at all.
These changes in sleep patterns are common, and are said to affect between 40 - 70% of older Australians. One of the cruel ironies of life is that in retirement when we have time to rest, often our bodies rob us of the privilege. Fortunately there are tools and strategies we can employ that can aid restful sleep.
Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe actions and practices that can influence the quality of sleep one might get. Practices like having a calming and consistent bedtime routine (which may involve relaxation, lowering the lights, personal care practices and dressing in comfortable attire for bed) are shown to contribute positively to restful sleep.
The use of electronic devices and exposure to blue light (like that emitted by mobile phones and computers) close to bedtime has been reported to interrupt our natural sleep rhythm and ability to fall asleep quickly. It is recommended that we reduce or eliminate exposure to electronic devices in the 1-2 hours prior to bedtime in order to avoid any disruption to our natural sleep cycle.
1. Mindfulness and meditation are techniques with evidence supporting their positive effect on sleep. These practices often involve deep, calming breathing protocols which slow the heart rate, or methods to clear our minds of intrusive thoughts, both which are conducive to falling asleep quickly and sleeping soundly.
2. There is also evidence that listening to music prior to bedtime and whilst trying to fall asleep can be effective. It is said the best type of music is classical or instrumental music, ideally with a BPM (beats per minute) of 60-80 or lower. By winding down for sleep with some soft, calming music you can ease yourself into a restful slumber which will hopefully continue soundly for the recommended 7-9 hours per night.
One way to enjoy calming music to fall asleep is with a product like the JINSERTA Bluetooth Stereo Headset, a soft and comfortable headband/eyemask hybrid that allows you to listen to music comfortably whilst in bed, and without disturbing your partner or bedmate.
Whichever strategy, or combination of strategies, you employ all it takes is a few simple practices to help develop a more effective sleep habit and enjoy more restful sleep.