You’re spending adequate time in bed, but you typically wake up tired and unrested. Frustrating as it is, you can’t seem to shut your brain off long enough to get a good night’s sleep.
You’re way past your college days where you could sleep for 5 hours and have that last you two days. You’ve tried everything – pills, no caffeine, counting sheep, but nothing’s working. Fortunately, there exists a host of other things you can do (or not do) to help you not only fall asleep quicker, but improve the quality of your sleep as well.
Below is a list of 9 sleeping tips for women over 50:
Learning to invite breath into different parts of your body can help to focus your energy. By breathing into your belly, you engage your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of the “fight or flight” response.
Heart rate slows and the body is more likely to transition to sleep faster than it normally would. This deep breathing can be practiced throughout the day as well, in order to develop an automatic physical response. Meditation is personal and it can be used in conjunction with other tips on this list such as aromatherapy and listening to music.
Doing yoga during the day or creating a yoga routine before bedtime is a great way to slow the body down physically. Hip openers allow any excess tension and stress to be released, while forward bends create a sense of soothing introversion.
A more stimulating yoga practice during earlier hours of the day allows excess tension to be released through a healthy outlet. Mind and body are able to connect, which allows sleep to come easier later on.
Using aromatherapy at night can greatly improve chances of sleep. Essential oils such jasmine, lavender, and chamomile help the body to relax and induce sleep.
Lavender especially has been studied extensively as a natural sedative. One study in particular, had a focus group of insomniac women in midlife.
Still, you may try different oils to see which scents resonate with your body but lavender and chamomile are great starters that work for most people. Putting essential oils on your wrists, neck, and even pillowcase can help to soothe you to peaceful sleep rather than letting thoughts in your brain race all night long.
You might try rubbing your temples, neck, shoulders, upper back, and arms before bedtime to show muscles some love.
Tactile massage helps to release physical tension, which can cause discomfort that detracts from sleep. If you are unable to get comfortable in a resting position, you’re likely to remain awake for a longer period of time. Self-massage and partner massage are both great ways to ease muscles.
Soothing music or nature sounds are a common sleep aid for lots of individuals who find themselves unable to relax. Try listening to the music and concentrating on deep breathing to transition into dreamland rather than counting sheep.
6. Create a Routine
Creating a bedtime routine is one of the underappreciated and underutilized ways to consistently and reliably induce sleep.
Whether it’s taking a warm bath, brushing your teeth, reading a book, or drinking a glass of milk before bed; consistently doing the same routine before going to sleep can let your body know when it’s time to wind down and will make sleep easier in the future.
Three to four weeks of consistency is a good starting point as it’s generally believed that this is the period it takes to develop habits that stick.
7. Honor Your Bedtime
Particularly if you’re still working, it’s important to go to bed on time so you get at least 7 hours of sleep. If you consistently go to sleep late, say by one hour every night, you basically rob yourself of a full night’s sleep every week!
Exercise can help you to improve the quality of your sleep, but WHEN you choose to exercise is very important. Contrary to what you may believe, exercising before bed won’t tire you out.
In fact, the release of certain hormones will actually give you a false high of feeling active and refreshed when your body actually isn’t. This is why it’s recommended that any major exercise be done a few hours before your regular or intended bedtime.
9. Nap Early or Don’t Nap At All
Late naps decrease sleep drive and make it much harder to fall asleep when it’s bedtime.
These are all completely natural tips for falling asleep easily that are simple to try. Women over 50 can utilize yoga and meditation to explore a mind-body connection, while aromatherapy, massage, and music help to relax different senses of the body.
You might even combine a couple of these ideas to create your own custom pre-sleep routine. Try different methods to discover what works best for your particular body and brain.
About the Author
Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, strategic leader, and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.
You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils and healthy living practices.