A peaceful night's sleep

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01 August 2019

A peaceful night's sleep

As we get older our sleeping patterns and routines can changemaking us more likely to wake during the night or early morning.The recommended amount of sleep per night is 7-9 hours.

If you lose a night or two of sleep, or sleep poorly, you may feel groggy and irritable. But if this continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health and put you at risk of serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. But what if you are struggling to sleep?

Struggling to sleep

If you're finding it difficult to sleep in bed, but find yourself dozing off in front of the TV, try to get to bed a little earlier or walk around to stay awake and alert a little longer before going up to bed If you find yourself worrying a lot in bed whilst trying to sleep, think about scheduling in 15 minutes of ‘worry time’ in the morning rather than before bedtime to help you relax and fall asleep. It is always worth visiting your doctor if you find it difficult to sleep and it is having a negative impact on your life.

You may be woken by a partner or loved one snoring – or be a snorer yourself. Snoring is caused by your tongue, mouth, throat or airways in your nose relaxing as you sleep, then vibrating as you breathe. It can be really difficult to sleep properly if you or the person you sleep next to is a snorer. Read our blog on how to stop snoring.

Advice from the experts

Because sleep is important, and only becomes more so as we get older, we spoke to James Goodwin from Age UK. He said:

“Sleeping is something we all tend to take for granted, but we really have to wise up to the fact that getting the right amount of good sleep is crucial as we age, helping to protect us from all kinds of problems that can affect our brains as well as our bodies. The message is that in order to stay mentally sharp in later life - something we all care passionately about - take care of your sleep."

Age UK have a selection of tips for getting to sleep on their website.

The NHS have a wealth of information on sleep. They explain that one in three people suffer with poor sleep and the effects can be both emotional and physical:

“Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.” Source NHS Live Well

They recommend trying to add an extra hour or 2 a night to help. If you begin at a weekend, you can also try not setting an alarm clock (as you are likely not going to work) to allow yourself to wake naturally.

Tips for an uninterrupted night's sleep

  • Eat your dinner at least 3 hours before going to bed toaid digestion
  • Avoid drinking alcohol to help you sleep or use any over-the countersleep preparations
  • Try to switch off and avoid looking at an electronic screen suchas your phone, tablet or laptop before bed.
  • Try to create a calm and peaceful environment before sleeping
  • Ensure you wake up at the same time every day in a routine

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