Article by Jocelyne Leach
Are you one of those people who lies wake for hours every night looking at the clock? Jocelyn Leach givers her tips to women over 50 for getting a good night’s sleep.
How much sleep should we aim to get in our 50s?
This varies from person to person but an average would be 7-9 hours.
The reason sleep is so important, is that for women over 50 the body is more easily depleted; we run out of juice more quickly. The time we are asleep is when the body is able to regenerate and repair. Look at it as health insurance or preventative medicine. Your body is always trying to get back to its optimal state and sleep allows your body to get on and do it’s job. It really is a myth to think that you can get by with little sleep and expect to function well on a daily basis? or ‘catch up’ at the weekend. Once sleep is lost, thats it, you cannot replace it. It is such a simple requirement at one level that we try and outsmart sleep and trick the body to function with our pep-up drug of choice, whether that is caffeine, sugar, chocolate or whatever.
Why is that some women over 50 suffer from insomnia?
The main causes of insomnia in women over 50 are imbalances with ?hormones, too much caffeine during the day, eating too late in the evening, using alcohol to wind down and an unruly mind!
Are there things we can do to address this without resorting to sleeping pills?
?Yes! There is much you can do before you resort to sleeping pills and these are deceptively s?imple things that help establish a better night time routine and keep you asleep for longer.
The best tips to get a good night’s sleep
What is your Secret Sequence?
My Secret Sequence is a combination of simple tips and techniques that address lifestyle imbalances and poor habits and includes a very quick and easy physical? relaxation sequence that puts you in the right ‘place’ mentally and physically to establish good sleep patterns.
I have many suggestions but my top three are:
- Cut out caffeine – or at least cut it by half and work your way down to a minimum amount. Caffeine intake IS the biggest disruptor of sleep bar none. Caffeine is sneaky! and difficult to stop because it is addictive. If you love coffee, or anything that is high in caffeine, such as cola, tea, so called ‘energy’ drinks, then it may be better for you to out wit the effects of caffeine by reducing your intake over a few days, even a week. For example, if you really love fresh ground coffee in the morning, start mixing it with fresh ground de-caff, gradually decreasing the normal blend. Another way to do this is to start cutting the physical amount you put in the pot. So say you make a caffetiere with 4 scoops of ground coffee, cut down to three scoops in the same quantity of water.
Another way to combat your caffeine addiction is to have your minimum amount of coffee early in the day, before lunch. It takes 7 – 10 hours for caffeine to leave your body. So you can see how this might affect your sleep.
- Have a technology curfew for at least one hour before the desired time for going to bed.Turn off your laptop, ipad and smart phone. ?This is two fold benefit. Firstly, as part of the sequence you need to establish a bedtime routine.( just like a child!) Being on your computer and doing that kind of thing in the run up to sleep just fills your mind with ‘stuff’, it stimulates it. Secondly, the light that is emmitted from these devices stimulates a part of the brain that keeps you awake. I have friends that lay in bed with their ipad connecting on Facebook, catching up with the days events and chatting to friends thinking that they are relaxing, but in reality are having the opposite effect. It can all wait until the next day, or just do it earlier in the evening.
- Eat earlier and eat lighter. This really is a lifestyle issue. We tend to be so busy in the day that we have a lighter lunch than our predecesors and then eat too much in the evening. We do this partly because we have more time in the evening and partly because we are so hungry by then because we haven’t had – or made- the time to eat earlier. Eating late is very hard on the digestion and one of the main reasons for waking up in the middle of the night. If you are often up at 2 or 3 am then it may because your liver and digestive system are working flat out trying to digest your late evening meal. (That is also what alcohol does to you too, even though it sends you to sleep at first.) As a positive side effect, eating light at night will help you lose some stubborn weight and feel much better and more lively in the morning
If your sequence is followed how quickly should results be noticed?
Most women experience some improvement immediately
Jocelyn will be conducting a workshop at the OM Yoga Show at London Olympia. You will find details and a competition to win tickets to the show here.
You can also contact Jocelyn directly at www.corevitalityyoga.com