Sunday was my mother’s 98th birthday. I waited until noon to phone her. She was sleeping. It did not surprise me.
You should see her darlings; she is truly a beautiful woman with sparkling blue eyes. I’m convinced her longevity and beauty are due to her life-long sleep habits. Because of this, I decided, all women over 50 would benefit from learning the truths and myths of sleep. After all, we have a lot of bloomin’ livin’ to do!
Facts and Myths About Sleep
We know from scientific data that a good night’s sleep for women over 50 restores the immune system, cleanses toxins from our brains, lowers are blood pressure and more. These are the facts, not myths.
- 7-9 hours of sleep? The majority of people need between seven and nine hours of sleep. With 7-9 hours of sleep, I wake up feeling rested and feeling ‘normal. When I don’t get all my sleep? I feel not normal, darlings! Lack of sleep creates memory loss, increased cancer risk, depression, heart disease, anxiety and more.
- Can you make up sleep? You cannot make up for lost sleep. So, if you think you can catch up on the week-end what you lost during the week, this is a falsehood. The scientists say we can through our body off even more trying to catch up because it is like changing our time zone.
- Ambien- sleeping pills work? Nope, darlings! Sleep experts say those taking sleeping pills are not getting natural sleep; you are actually sedating yourself and weakening the memory cells in your brain.
- You should stay in bed if you can’t sleep? The experts tell you to get up after twenty minutes and do something that will not trigger stimulation, like your computer, darlings. Read a book or drink some hot tea or hot water with lemon.
- There is harm in a night cap. Yes, you will fall asleep faster but you won’t fall into a deep sleep. You should not have all alcohol two hours before your bedtime.
- Melatonin supplements? We know our bodies produce melatonin. So, why shouldn’t we take the natural supplement, Melatonin? Because darlings, it is proven it does not help you sleep. And, because supplements are unregulated in the USA no one knows the amount melatonin in each capsule. It could be a placebo!
- It is good to dream? Yes, darlings, and we all dream though many of us don’t have recall. My ultimate concierge remembers his dreams every morning. I don’t. We dream about the day, have several dreams a night and are connected with creativity and problem-solving. Dreams are an essential part of our sleep.
- The older you get, the less sleep you need? Nope! Women over 50 need just as much sleep as young people.
- Does your brain rest while asleep? Your body rests, but not your brain. If our brain rested we would not breathe!! Sleep is important in consolidating our memories and cognitive functions.
Sleep Better Naturally With These Behavioral Changes
During the day time:
- Minimize your caffeine and stop smoking because nicotine disrupts your sleep.
- Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the am.
- Take a 20-30 minute nap; no longer.
- Exercise but not at night.
In the evening:
- Keep your home dimly lit.
- Avoid heavy meals late in the day
- Eat a few hours before bedtime.
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
- Write your worries down. Try not to lie in bed and worry.
Ways to Sleep With Anxiety
Many people have sleep problems due to anxiety. Anxiety can cause insomnia and insomnia can cause anxiety. Just yesterday, I posted a podcast interview on how people are relieving anxiety with CBD and it is a catch 22, darlings. You have to deal with the cause of the anxiety in order to alleviate your lack of sleep and that can take some time. It is not an easy fix.