How to Get Better Sleep for Healthy Aging

Sleeping through the night becomes more difficult as we age due to the increasing number of disorders prevalent in the latter stages of life. Conversely, not sleeping enough hours on a regular basis leads to a multitude of problems, some of which lead to disease, major changes in lifestyle, and reduced mortality. Getting better sleep for healthy aging should definitely be on your list of things to work on immediately.

To be always intending to make a new and better life but never to find time to set about it is as to put off eating and drinking and sleeping from one day to the next until you’re dead. Og Mandino

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The Importance of Acknowledging Sleep Problems in Aging

Get better sleep for healthy agingSleep problems are easy to ignore.  You forget you have them until something goes wrong at work, your reflexes are slowed when driving, or your moods become irritable.  You are not easy to get along with and you forget that you really do have a sleep issue that needs to be dealt with.  What’s it going to take?  How about some more education to begin with.

I was proud of working 18 hours a day and sleeping three hours a night. It’s something now that has turned into a problem for me: not being able to sleep… having insomnia. Sean Combs
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What Does Lack of Sleep Do?

Sleep deprivation is known to cause many problems. Two problems that are extremely significant to women are hypertension and the development of coronary heart disease. As noted in my article on dementia, 80% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were shown to have cardiovascular disease. That puts getting a sufficient amount of sleep at the top of your list of things to do to avoid cardiovascular disease and possibly Alzheimer’s. Getting enough sleep must be a priority to avoid a number of other problems as well, as revealed by various studies:

  •  Abnormal glucose tolerance in men and women (associated with diabetes)
  •  A  study of 5,500 showed that in men and women getting less than six hours sleep at night there was a 66% likelihood of getting hypertension compared to those who got from seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Presence of metabolic syndrome markers in those who were from 30 to 54 years old.
  • The immune system may be compromised, providing an opportunity for acquiring various diseases.

Mental problems cause sleep issues.Additionally, mental problems can arise as a result of not sleeping properly and cause additional issues at home, in your social environment, and at work. These include

  • Negative thinking
  • An inability to resolve problems
  • An inability to not only exercise tolerance of others but also feel empathy
  • Lacking or reduced impulse control
  • Depression
  • Headaches from stress

 

 

What is Normal Sleep for Older People?

Normal sleep patterns for older adults include changes in the traditional stages of sleep beginning with stages 1 and 2 where there is more than usual. In stages 3 and 4—slow wave sleep—there is a continuing decrease over time with total disappearance after 90, and in stage 5—that beautiful and calming REM sleep—there is a decrease that is compatible with a total sleep time decrease. This total sleep time was shown to be less as we age and to last about seven hours.

What Can Be Affecting Our Sleep

 

Can loafing cause sleep problems?

 

Unfortunately, older people have difficulty getting an average of seven hours of sleep. This can become chronic. There are many reasons for this, and among them are a number of mental and medical conditions including breathing problems, thyroid disease, heart failure, diabetes, restless leg syndrome, musculoskeletal diseases, spinal stenosis, and urinary problems.  At this point, you have probably picked up on the fact that some things that cause sleep problems are also caused by sleep problems, e.g. depression, anxiety, heart disease.  Those with certain mental illnesses, particularly those with anxiety, have difficulty sleeping.  People that worry have problems, as do people that drink alcohol before bedtime. Sure, the alcohol might help you get to sleep, but you are most likely to wake up a couple of hours into your sleep unable to sleep further.

 

What is the Ultimate Result of Sleep Deprivation

A Healthy Sleep article revealed that the health consequences of insufficient sleep in the long term, such as “diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease …may lead to a shortened life expectancy” and early death. It is also noteworthy that getting more than nine hours of sleep is unhealthy. Additionally, sleep loss can cause an increase in problems at work such as errors, productivity, and relations.

I’m very happy with my life. I am what I am. I don’t worry about anything that I can’t control. That’s a really good lesson in life. Tom Watson
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 Sleeping is easy for some!Improve Your Ability to Sleep

  • Rather than fight sleep as in just gotta see that last TV program, go to bed when feeling sleepy or tired.
  • Try to maintain a routine for going to bed.
  • Turn off your television and electronic devices.
  • Don’t go to bed worrying about anything.
  • Concentrate on something positive.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine.
  • Talk to you doctor and get suggestions from him.
  • If anxiety, persistent worry, or being depressed is affecting your sleep, see a mental health counselor. Most mental health agencies funded by government funds provide therapy at a minimum cost. 
  • Try some white noise, such as a small fan that you can just hear, a CD with water bubbling in a stream, etc.
  • Look into manufactured devices, such as the one shown below, that help with sleep.
  • Plan activities before bedtime that relax you.
  • Avoid going to bed hungry.  I like a couple of crackers sometimes but especially if I ate a light supper.
  • Try Yoga.

In summary, it is obviously important to improve your sleep habits if you are not getting sufficient sleep.  As noted, a chronic lack of sleep can cause disease and affect your quality of life and length of life.  You will find that people don’t enjoy the consequences of your not having slept well.  They don’t deserve this and neither do you.  Please do something about it and please give me a comment below, letting me know if you have some tips for sleeping better.

 

The sleep aid device shown below appears to have helped people sleep.  Please check the device out on Amazon.com and see what they are saying about it.

No truer words!

Why Traveling and Vacationing Alone Can Be Fulfilling for Women

Tanya in front of sliding rock near Hendersonville, NC.Traveling is a fun thing for me even though I don’t get to do it very often. Finding a traveling companion is difficult due to problems with schedules, finances, personal choices, etc., and I have to say that often when I get back home after traveling with someone, I realize that I did not get to do many of the items on my itinerary. In addition, I find that sleeping hours vary, eating habits can cause problems, and highway choices can be vastly different–the interstate or country roads. So women traveling and vacationing alone can be fulfilling and much more satisfying for the most part. The one most likely exception occurs when traveling with someone you get along very well with at home, such as a spouse or good friend, where the ability to work well together is key.  The trip can be rewarding and with few regrets, with time spent satisfying to each.

The important thing to remember here is that you should not deny yourself the opportunity to travel because you lack a suitable person to travel with. Most likely, the majority of women traveling alone are those traveling for business. These are seasoned travelers and we have learned much from them.  They have shown us we can do it also.

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae C. Jemison

 

Biking is a great way to get around.Traveling Alone is Fun

The first thing that pops into my head is “freedom” when I think of traveling alone. By that, I mean the freedom to do what I want to do, when and where I want, and how I want to do it. Let’s face it. I love making my own choices, and I bet you do as well. That forces me to take responsibility for the bad choices along with the good ones. Does this sense of freedom eliminate some fears that are associated with making choices? Certainly not, but being a little fearful about some things is helpful. That fear often encourages me to go beyond the fear, taking a risk, and enjoying the results. And just as often, that fear leads me to be cautious, to consider what could happen in order to prevent its happening.

 

“A subject to which few intellectuals ever give a thought is the right to be a vagrant, the freedom to wander. Yet vagrancy is a deliverance, and life on the open road is the essence of freedom. To have the courage to smash the chains with which modern life has weighted us (under the pretext that it was offering us more liberty), then to take up the symbolic stick and bundle and get out.” ― Isabelle Eberhardt

 

Woman Traveling AloneHow To Stay Safe

Here are some safety tips for your travels:

  • Travel with as little cash as possible. Keep the cash and a minimum of credit cards in a safe place on your person, making it difficult for someone to steal or for you to lose.
  • When dining, access your money or credit card away from your table to avoid someone’s noticing where you got it.
  • Rest stops for a bathroom or something to drink are probably the safest on the road in a state-owned rest area during the daytime or in a restaurant.
  • If you have packed your lunch, the above rest areas usually have tables. If traveling near the ocean, try to find a populated, beachside park for tables and restrooms.
  • When entering your hotel room, be mindful of people around you, so you can slip into your room without fear of being followed. If someone knocks on your door, preface what you say with “we, we’re, etc.” as in “We’ll be right there.” Don’t open it unless you are expecting the individual or the service, and when you do open it, don’t close the door until the person leaves. It is easy to feel so comfortable in some hotels or motels that you will leave the door unlocked when going for ice or something else. Don’t do this.
  • Woman traveling aloneKnow your route before you leave home and adjust it only in safe places. Always have a map of each state you are traveling in. Online maps are available for those actual areas where you will be traveling. Contact the chambers of commerce well ahead of your trip for information.
  • Know your destination for sleeping and make reservations well enough in advance. First, you will save money this way, and second, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to stay. Click on my favorite–Booking.com–for room reservations below.
  • Wherever you are, be mindful of the lack of people around you and the presence of people and their location to avoid being in a situation where one might take advantage of you.
  • Read the book on solo traveling below.  It has great Amazon ratings.  One in particular was “It gave me great confidence about the idea of an older single woman traveling and enjoying it. I’m now ready to take on the world. Thank you so much for showing the way.”  Those who liked the book the most were beginning solo travelers.  The book’s author also has a website.

I will be writing articles on traveling to certain areas in the future and need your input on what you would like to learn about places that are new to you.  Please offer your suggestions and comments below.

“My spirit gets nourished in faraway places. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a biological need, perhaps a biological flaw that compels me to seek the excitement and challenge that comes of being in a place where nobody knows me. Other times I think that my compulsion to settle into communities that are different from the ones I know is related to my passion for experiential learning. I learn best and most happily by doing, touching, sharing, tasting. When I’m somewhere I’ve never been before, learning goes on all day, every day.” ― Rita Golden Gelman, Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Traveling




Booking.com

Staying on Top of Dementia for Successful Aging

Introduction to the Rest of Your Life

In January of 2017, Dr. Kenneth Langa and group reported that in a population of 21,000 adults, 65 and older, the prevalence of dementia dropped 2.8% to 8.8% in from 2000 in 2012.  Previously, we assumed that acquiring dementia was our destiny as we got older and that it could come at any time; however, with evidence that it is actually decreasing, we need to take note. Even a reduced number of cases is a significant number, and you should know that in 2015 Alzheimer’s disease was number six on the leading causes of death in the United States.  This ranking came three years after the research.   This is somewhat shocking and is, therefore, the reason for writing an article about staying on top of dementia for successful aging.

Levels of education were attributed as a contributing factor to the above decrease, and education is an extremely important factor in maintaining good health, both physical and mental.  Many state university programs encourage further education by offering free opportunities to seniors.  Because each state has different programs,   “Google” those free opportunities for education in your state.  Further, attending school has been shown to be effective in reducing cognitive decline due to aging in addition to improving poor self-image and depression.

It is refreshing to note that the above decrease shows that we may finally be paying attention to those who have defined the necessary steps to further improve the above figures.  We know that the following factors are instrumental in preventing or prolonging some forms of dementia:

  • More people in our society have gone further in their education and are still learning.
  • Staying mentally active by participating in “social, cultural, economic, spiritual, and civic affairs.”
  • Improved quality of life by maximizing access to good health through physical, mental and social well being.

 

What Can You Do?

According to Medical News Today, the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are unknown; however, they do say that 80% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have some form of cardiovascular disease.  They recommend reducing the risks for cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack (the leading cause of deaths) and stroke (5th leading cause of deaths) with the following:

  • No smoking
  • Limited alcohol
  • Balanced diet
  • Good exercise, including walking or some form of sports
  • Routine blood pressure checks
  • If diabetic or pre-diabetic (seventh leading cause of deaths), pay special attention to all instructions from your doctor.
  • Increase mental activity with reading and writing for pleasure, learning new things, using those musical instruments, and anything else that helps you to focus better.

Smoking.  There are all kinds of resources to help you with this.  Many are free.  Please start with your doctor.

Limited alcohol.  This is usually explained as one drink a day for women and two for men.

Balanced diet.  This is as easy as looking it up on the Internet; however, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or any other factors affected by diet, please ask your doctor for a diet made just for you.

Good exercise.  The first thing to pop in one’s mind about exercise is the list of reasons for not doing any exercise.  Using them is self-defeating.  Walking is the number one recommended exercise, but even if you can’t walk, there are exercises out there for you.  Please find out what is available for you.

Blood pressure checks.  You can do these at home, in your local fire station, or at your primary physician’s office.

Diabetic or pre-diabetic.  The repercussions of acquiring diabetes are well known to most and include, according to the Mayo Clinic, damage to ears, kidneys (may lead to kidney dialysis, feet (may lead to amputation), nerves (may lead to neuropathy), eyes, skin; cardiovascular disease; and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mental activity.  With this last item in mind, it is helpful to select one of your hobbies and use that as a base for additional learning and concentration. Take gardening  for example.  There are so many additional activities attached to gardening. Just talking about it can be rewarding.   It provides lots of exercise and Vitamin D.  You can also write about it—keep good notes on what, when, and where you planted something, if it came up and produced a good crop, what you used or did to facilitate growth, etc.  And last but not least, you can eat the products of this hobby!  In fact, becoming an expert in one area of your life leads to all sorts of fulfillment.

 

“Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration—studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing—are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting, and golfing, are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s. (254)” 
― Norman Doidge

 

I can’t say enough about improving your mental activity, especially if you are doing something you are enjoying.  You will most likely be rewarded with an improved self-esteem, and that will hopefully lead you to believe enough in yourself to succeed in all of the other activities leading to the best of health.  If you have what it takes to be successful in any improved mental activity, you will want to accomplish all of the above.

Whatever disabilities you have, minimize them as far as you can.  Don’t use them as an excuse for not doing something that would improve your life overall.  And don’t forget, that improving your life automatically improves the quality of life for those around you.

Heed the Evidence and Proceed to Staying on Top Of Dementia

Staying on Top of DementiaYou read varying reports on just about anything these days, which causes you to wonder why one person’s observations are so vastly different from another’s reports.  When reading articles such as mine and others like it, you have to be sure you are comparing apples and apples.

Using our subject–dementia– for example:  If an article does not specify a particular type of dementia, you don’t know whether or not the article pertains to everyone with dementia or just certain groups.  There are different types including those with Alzheimer’s disease, drug use, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease,  traumatic brain injury, vascular disorders, and those caused by infections.  Alzheimer’s constitutes the largest part at 50 to 70%

According to the Cleveland Clinic, dementia has become more prevalent in that group they classify as “elderly–65 and older”  and they report that the most likely causes of this increase are that people are more informed about the symptoms of dementia or their extended longevity lends the possibility of acquiring Alzheimer’s.  In addition, they say that at age 85 and older, more than 50% will have Alzheimer’s.  This is especially important to acknowledge, as it means that just maybe we can lower that figure by applying all we have learned to prevent other diseases associated with it The time to start is now.

The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the dementia firing range. How will a society cope? Especially a society that can’t so readily rely on those stable family relationships that traditionally provided the backbone of care? Terry Pratchett
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On a personal note, my work on this website definitely challenges my brain cells which sometimes seem to be more active than necessary.  Writing, researching my subject, deciding how to best present it, and learning the technical language associated with its presentation is working for me.  I meet every achievement here with thanks that I am still mentally active.  And while I did not intend to promote Wealthy Affiliate when I started this post, I can heartily do so by recognizing its benefits for me in terms of aging successfully.  By hosting my website and giving me all the training and information I need, Wealthy Affiliate has provided me the opportunity to make additional money that will continue into my retirement. I look forward to waking up, grabbing my coffee, and getting started on my website. If this interests you, please click on Wealthy Affiliate and investigate this as a possibility for you. Many members are making a living far beyond their expectations and use WA for their full-time work, while others use it as I do to supplement my income.

Based on a reader’s recommendation, I looked this book up and found it had hundreds of good reviews.  Check it out!