E S S A Y Or not.
Boomers are not sleeping like we used to and people who study this kind of thing can prove it. No less an authority on health than the National Institutes of Health is telling us that older adults typically have more trouble falling asleep.
No kidding. In their study of adults over 65, 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. On top of that, we sleep less deeply and wake up more frequently during the night. This change in our sleep patterns is mostly due to a lowered secretion of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.
How about the fact that we have a lot on our minds? Yes. Experts agree that boomers have cares that are both upstream and downstream. They worry about their children and grandchildren as well as their elderly parents. Then there are the financial issues. Did we save enough for retirement? Will we be living in a van?
So this is not the new normal. If we’re not sleeping well, we need to do something about it. The mattress companies would have you believe that the solution is a new mattress and foundation (that’s what they’re calling boxsprings these days). And that could help, but experts think that getting more exercise is effective along with meditation and getting outdoors more often. So start doing something more aerobic such as brisk walking or swimming and get out and commune with nature before you run down to the mattress store where you will be tortured to find 107 kinds of mattress choices that totally baffle you. Consistency when it comes to your bedtime schedule is also supposed to help according to insomnia experts. Your bed should be in cool, dark and quiet space and it helps even more if you can create some kind of ritual that puts your mind in a restful state. To which I say, easier said than done when it comes to achieving a restful state of mind these days, but worth the effort to try.
If none of these suggestions help, it may be time to talk to your doctor or head to the sleep clinic to see if there’s a medical issue that’s affecting your sleep. There are effective treatments out there and seeking them out is a lot healthier than ignoring the problem.
So if you’re experiencing a lack of sleep that should be a wake-up call. I bet the experts never use that one.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.