Adequate Sleep

As a nation we are a population on the go, but you might be short-changing yourself if you’re sacrifice sleep for more activities. Sleep is an essential element of the Seven Pillars of Aging Successfully™.

Some suffer from insomnia, others are overextended with days (and nights!) packed with events, gatherings, and late-night programming that can interfere with sleep patterns. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30% or more than 40 million American adults sleep fewer than six hours a night. Most health organizations recommend 6.5-8 hours of sleep a night.

Sleep benefits many aspects of your physical self including heart, mind, body and more. Our brain functions better with sleep, from higher learning to improved memory. Sleep is also important to vital organs. When we are at rest, our organs have time to recharge and replenish the body to function efficiently; this reduces fatigue and increases stamina. You may also see a reduction in blood pressure, inflammation, stress and depression.

Sleep comes more easily for some than others, but here are some suggestions that might help:

  1. Have a routine to wind down from the day before going to sleep
  2. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day
  3. Listen to calming music, have a warm drink, or relax in a warm bath
  4. Choose a comfortable mattress and bedroom set
  5. Pillows are important–when the head isn’t positioned correctly, you can suffer neck pain or restless sleep patterns
  6. Use low night lights to ensure safety but that don’t interrupt ability to fall or remain asleep

Choosing a mattress is an important purchase given the amount of time you spend sleeping. On average we spend almost 30% of our lives sleeping. ELO50 recommends doing your research before making a purchase. Some tips include:

  1. Don’t make a decision strictly on price. Remember, you need to be comfortable and you’ll be using your bed every day for many years. 
  2. Take advantage of a trial period to ensure your mattress supports your body and allows for a restful night's sleep.
  3. Clean and turn your mattress occasionally as this adds to its longevity and proper support.
  4. Choose your pillow as carefully as you do your mattress for comfort and fit.

For more on sleeping habits, check out this article in the February 2017 Consumer Reports.