Aging Successfully: Three suggestions for obtaining quality sleep

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Once again, I want to publically thank our readers for their positive and encouraging comments regarding this column. They are truly uplifting, thank you.

In last month’s column (September 2019) I shared just how critical sleep is to our overall health, both mental and physical. In this column I want to list three easy suggestions to help you fall asleep easier and to obtain a better quality of sleep. This will only be a brief summary as there is much written on the subject of sleep. In addition, there are now many resources and suggestions available for the person who is serious about obtaining quality sleep.

Tweak your eating habits

Before beginning my research I had no idea our eating habits played such an important role in our sleep patterns. Eating sugars, refined carbohydrates and starches in the evening can cause a person to wake throughout the night, needing to urinate.

It is better to eat a light protein and dark leafy green vegetables in the evening, and maybe some cheese or celery for a bedtime snack.

If you suffer from insomnia consult with your primary care provider and have your nutrient levels tested.

Proper amounts of potassium, vitamin B1 and vitamin D are critical for quality sleep, along with magnesium and calcium. Most leafy green vegetables contain high amounts of potassium. Vitamin B1 has been used to help cure Sleep Apnea.

Revise your evening routine

It is an American habit to watch television or to spend time on our computers in the evening before retiring. The blue light emitted from these screens stimulates the brain, causing it to believe it is morning, and time to begin the day.

Sleep experts encourage us to turn off all electronics at least one hour before bed, and to use lamps instead of overhead lighting. One suggestion is to read a print book because electronic readers also emit the same blue light, again stimulating the brain.

Other suggestions listed by sleep doctors are to play board games, do a puzzle or word search. Two favorite recommendations are to journal or to meditate.

The brain loves routines because routines means it does not need to work as hard remembering what needs done. Creating your own consistent evening ritual will assist the brain in relaxing, and in preparing for sleep.

Examine your sleeping environment

The two most critical things needed to create the ideal sleeping environment are proper room temperature and lighting.

When we are asleep our body’s temperature drops and apparently we sleep better with room temperatures around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

The pituitary gland, located in the forehead, responds to light and dark. If you sleep in a lighted room the pituitary gland tells the brain it is time be awake, not to sleep.

There are additional things you can do to enhance your sleeping environment. Three of the most helpful are to place a house plant in your room as it releases oxygen into the air, use calming essential oils or listen to relaxing nature sounds while falling asleep. This is my new favorite sleep aide; I now listen to ocean waves each night.

Feel free to email me (informa and let us know which suggestions worked best for you.

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award winning poet. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family.

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