Aging Gracefully: Why You Need To Sleep Better

Changes are experienced in our sleeping patterns as we age. You can experience falling asleep earlier, waking up earlier or even not experience restful sleep. Some changes are actually normal in aging, but certain changes such as waking up tired each day, having insomnia and other experiences are definitely not a normal part of aging. Remember that getting sufficient sleep is very essential to your emotional and physical health as you get older, just as it was important when you were younger. So when you do begin to have sleeping problems, it is best to seek medical help or make certain changes to your sleeping environment and habits.

Why Do Older Adults Need To Sleep Well?

Sleep is very important no matter what your age may be. It plays an important role in your emotional well-being and physical health. When you get the sleep you need each night, your ability to concentrate better and your memory is improved, along with the body’s ability to repair any cell damages, refresh the immune system and prevent any disease.

If you are unable to sleep well, you may end up suffering from memory problems, depression, attention and sleepiness throughout the day. Chances are you might have an increased sensitivity to pain and even consume plenty of over-the-counter sleeping aids and other prescriptions. Those who have serious health problems such as diabetes, weight issues and even breast cancer, have reported having sleeping troubles before getting sick.

The Common Causes Of Sleeping Problems When Aging

Here are a few common causes of sleeping problems in adults when aging:

Medications – As you age, you will find yourself taking more medications compared to when you were younger. As a result, the combination of the mediations and some side-effects can impair your sleeping patterns or keep you awake at night.

Illness – If you are experiencing certain illnesses such as arthritis, asthma, menopause, urinary tract infections, diabetes and even heartburn, the pain will keep you up most of the time.

Emotional and Mental Issues – Life changes such as the death of a loved one or separation can affect your emotional health and cause stress. Sadness, anxiety and stress can keep you up at night and even make you depressed all the more.

Sleeping Environment – If you have a habit of drinking alcohol before going to bed and staying up really late at night you will find yourself with sleeping problems. This also includes trying to fall asleep while watching television or leaving the lights on. Sometimes, sleeping on a mattress that is not suitable for your body can leave you restless and trigger health conditions.

Improving Sleep While Aging

The only to get better sleep as you age is to improve your lifestyle and make certain changes. Here are some tips:

Exercise Regularly – When you stay fit by exercising regularly, your body releases endorphins that can help boost your mood and reduce any emotional and mental problems.

Socialize – Participate in healthy social activities which can keep your activity level up and prepare your body for a good night’s sleep.

Eat And Drink Healthy – Keep away from junk food and those that are considered stimulants as they can interfere with sleep. Maintain a healthy diet and always drink plenty of water during the day.

Improve Your Sleeping Environment – Make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable. Avoid watching television before going to bed and take a warm bath a few minutes before bed. Invest in a mattress that can support all pressure points of body and can provide the needed comfort for your age.

It’s Not a Heart Attack … Is It?

WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY where the words ‘heart attack’ are often used as a joke or to express shock over a sudden, unexpected event. For instance, how many times have you or someone you know said, “What are you trying to do – give me a heart attack?” or “I just about had a heart attack!” There is another common phrase, however, that hits a little closer to the truth. That phrase is “serious as a heart attack.” Though we often say this to emphasize a point, the fact is, a heart attack is very serious.

Even though we know this, many of us still run ourselves ragged, continue an unhealthy lifestyle or ignore symptoms that could put our very lives at risk. We push our hearts to the limit daily, somehow thinking that it won’t happen to us.

The fact of the matter is though, that every 39 seconds, someone dies from a heart-related health issue. Thirty-nine seconds! That’s less time than it takes to reheat last night’s leftovers in the microwave, drive two blocks through your neighborhood or update your Facebook status. Any one of us could be stricken by a heart attack as we’re just going about our normal, daily activities.

So, why aren’t more deaths prevented? Aside from changing lifestyle habits for an overall healthier balance, the answer is that many people still don’t know the signs of a heart attack or ignore them until it’s too late.

You probably know that chest pain can indicate a heart attack, but did you know that you won’t necessarily feel like there is “an elephant sitting on your chest”? Though people often describe a heart attack as crushing pain in their chest, other kinds of pain can signal serious problems as well. You may feel pressure or even just fullness in the center of your chest –and it may not stay long enough for you to think you need to be concerned. Even if the pain comes and goes, however, your heart may be trying to tell you that it needs help.

The next time that you’re rushing to a business meeting, trying to get the house in order with several energetic children destroying everything you just put back in place, stepping up your defense–determined to score or poring over your financial troubles for the umpteenth time, you might also want to keep in mind that stress on your heart doesn’t always come in the form of chest pain.

If you have pain in either one of your arms, your neck or back, your stomach or along your jaw, it might not be from that cavity you keep ignoring, the snack-fest you indulged in last night, your lumpy mattress or those boxes you hauled up two flights of stairs; you could actually be experiencing a heart attack. And though you may be thinking your shortness of breath is just leftover exhaustion from your Zumba class or the rush to make it to the bank before they closed, this too is another sign that you should seek medical help.

Of course, the best way to avoid ever finding yourself in one of these situations is to have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked annually –or semi-annually if your doctor has a concern, to eat healthy and to exercise. Even so, nobody is guaranteed a free pass when it comes to heart attacks, so it’s important to learn and memorize the signs of a heart attack.

If you do, the next time your boss snaps at you, you get bad news for the third time inside a week, your children have you running in circles or you feel the pressure of life closing in on you, you’ll be able to determine if it’s just normal, everyday stress that can be relieved with a workout or a bubble bath or if your heart is headed for serious trouble.

 

How Can I Lose Weight and Get Rid Of My Big Belly?

IT’S NOT VANITY, but a desire for health. I need to get rid of my big gut, lose some weight and get healthy. I have tried diets and plans. I have tried promising and bribing myself. I have read books and gone to classes–but I’ve failed. My gut just keeps getting bigger. I am bordering on obesity.

One thing I have realized on this last attempt: life is not always convenient.

Here’s what I mean.

My birthday rolls around in just a few days. It will mark the final year of my fifties. I decided, a few months back, to aim for a certain weight goal — to begin showing progress in the right direction.

And I was within a pound and a half of reaching that goal, still one week away from the target day. Easy, right? Watch my diet and exercise. I can do it.

But I haven’t. I have gained in the past week. My belly is pooching out like a bread basket.

Why?

Life wasn’t convenient. Life didn’t play along. Almost every night this week, a situation has arisen — whether at work or home — that put me in a position where there was plenty of food and a plausible reason to eat and be social.

My plan was to stay eat sparsely — even to fast completely the last few days as a combination physical and spiritual tribute to the fast-approaching end of my fifties.

Every night, though, I ate until I was full (and that can take some eating), thinking “tomorrow will be different.”

But tomorrow wasn’t different.

So I sit here with my too-big waistline, realizing I have put myself in a position where my risk of heart disease and other serious ailments is considerably amplified.

All because I can’t seem to control my own actions.

What a shame. What a shame.

I won’t give up, though. I will get back up and keep trying. I will face the fact that it’s okay to be hungry. Most of the world is used to hunger. Why not me? Why do I think I have to stuff myself on a regular basis?

I don’t have to live like that. I don’t have to end up another statistic of overabundance.

And I won’t.

How about you? Have you experienced success and moved towards health? What tips do you have to encourage and guide others?

I’m listening.