Can you remember when you took a good night’s sleep for granted? In our youth, most of us never worried about whether we’d get to sleep. But as we age sleep can be elusive.
An article in the New York Times reports that sleeping less as you age once played an important role in the survival of our species. Researchers believe, “The way sleep patterns change with age may be an evolutionary adaptation that helped our ancestors survive the night by ensuring one person in a community was awake at all times.” A role that an older member of a community filled was to be awake, so they were able to alert others when threatened by predators.
Perhaps this biological imperative of our ancestors makes a sleepless night a little more palatable. However, ongoing insomnia is not something to ignore, as it has a negative impact on our physical and emotional health.
It’s important to address insomnia before it becomes a learned response. If you begin to anticipate you won’t be able to sleep, the more anxious you get and the harder it will be to relax and fall asleep.
You may want to speak with your doctor to see if there is an underlying health problem, such as sleep apnea, that is impacting your sleep. Often the solution is much simpler, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule.
Learn your own natural sleep pattern, so you can determine the optimum amount of sleep you need, and the times when your body is most ready for sleep.
I share a few more tips in my handout, Seven Secrets of Sleeping Soundly.
Rest assured that by implementing these techniques you will be on the path to sleeping better.
Your optimism challenge:
Review the seven tips in my handout Seven Secrets of Sleeping Soundly. Choose an area where you can improve your sleep habits for a healthier, more enjoyable life.
Share your feedback, questions or comments at healthyoptimism.com/contact.