Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Tips for Improving Sleep

GettyImages-1213868395Did you know? An ongoing lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep increases your risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Are you finding yourself…to be irritable? Having memory problems or being forgetful? Feeling depressed? Having more falls or accidents? Then you may not be getting a good night’s sleep.

Despite popular (false) belief, older adults need about the same amount of sleep as all adults, 7 to 9 hours each night. Unfortunately, many older adults often get less sleep than they need. One reason is that they often have more trouble falling asleep. A study of adults over 65 found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

Here are some ideas and tips for helping get a good night sleep:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. (Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day)
  • Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening. (Try limiting your day naps to 15-45 minutes)
  • Develop a routine for bedtime. (Try to develop soothing bedtime rituals such as taking a bath, playing music or practicing relaxation techniques)
  • Avoid electronics, as their lights may make it difficult for you to fall asleep.
  • Keep your home at a comfortable temperature. (That is not too hot or too cold)
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark and use low lighting in the evenings.
  • Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime. (May lead to indigestion)
  • Stay away from caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) late in the day.
  • Participate in regular exercise [150 minutes total a week]. (A study at Northwestern University found that aerobic exercise resulted in the most dramatic improvement in quality of sleep, including sleep duration, for middle-aged and older adults with a diagnosis of insomnia.)

Sleep problems not related to age**

At any age, it’s common to experience occasional sleep problems. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you may be dealing with a sleep disorder:

  • Have trouble falling asleep even though you feel tired.
  • Have trouble getting back to sleep when awakened.
  • Don’t feel refreshed after a night’s sleep.
  • Feel irritable or sleepy during the day.
  • Have difficulty staying awake when sitting still, watching television, or driving.
  • Have difficulty concentrating during the day.
  • Rely on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep.
  • Have trouble controlling your emotions.

Evaluate your habits and implement some of the tips above into your routine to see if you can improve the quality of sleep. If you still experience problems with sleeping, speak with your doctor about your difficulties and share with them what lifestyle changes you have attempted to make improvements. Quality sleep is essential for optimal health and should be an open part of dialogue with your doctor!
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Topics: sleep sleeping patterns sleep habits


GettyImages-1218234483Sleep is an essential need that the human body requires. It is vital for the infrastructure of good health. Not getting enough sleep can have a great effect on the body physically and mentally.   


The two basic types of sleep are rapid eye movement (REM sleep) and non-REM sleep. Deep sleep is known as non-REM, while dreaming state typically occurs during REM. Generally, non-REM and REM sleep present themselves in a regular pattern of 3–5 cycles each night. 


Your body’s effectiveness to operate and feel well during the day relies on whether you are getting enough total sleep AND adequate amounts of each type of sleep. It also depends on whether you are sleeping at a time when your body is prepared and ready to sleep. 


Health Conditions Linked to a Lack of Sleep  

Adults typically need a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. When the minimal amount is not met, health conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity can occur or worsen.  


  • High Blood Pressure: Blood pressure levels go down during normal sleep. Staying awake longer or having problems sleeping means your blood pressure is staying higher for a longer amount of time. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Diabetes causes sugar to build up in your blood. Getting enough sleep may help people regulate blood sugar levels. Researchers believe that sleep restriction may affect blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin, cortisol and oxidative stress. 
  • Obesity: The part of the brain that controls hunger needs a healthy balance of the hormone's ghrelin (makes you feel hungry) and leptin (makes you feel full). Not getting enough sleep may cause more ghrelin levels to increase, which will make you feel hungrier than when you are well-rested.  


How Do I Get Better Sleep?  


  • Stick to a routine - A regular sleep schedule will cause your circadian rhythm to stay on track. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Try not to vary too much, even on the weekends.
  • Physical Activity - Get enough exercise during the day. Try not to do too much physical activity within a few hours of your regularly scheduled bedtime. 
  • Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime - Eating or drinking too much within a few hours of bedtime causes your organs to “wake up”. It may impair your sleep cycle and cause you to have trouble managing your blood sugar. 
  • Keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet - This type of environment is the most welcoming environment for your body to prepare for sleep. 

What do you do to prepare for sleep?

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Topics: sleep sleep habits healthy lifestyle

NIFS: Strive for Sleep

sleep at desk resized 600Feeling drowsy throughout your day? Always need that cup of coffee first thing in the morning and possibly in the afternoon? Well, you’re not alone. Getting enough sleep every day is essential for proper functioning and well-being, but many people do not get the recommended amount of sleep that they should per night. The average adult should sleep 7 to 9 hours every night. Depriving your body of just an hour of sleep per night can have a cumulative sleep deprivation effect.  Sleep deprivation can decrease short term memory as well as increase your chances for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. So, what can you do to prevent sleep deprivation and keep your body and mind sharp? Follow the guidelines below to help you kick start your new healthy sleeping schedule.

  1. Make sleep a routine…and not just one you follow on work nights. The best way to continue to get good rest is to put your body on a cycle. Try going to bed around the same time every night and waking up the same time every day. A good way to tell if you are getting enough sleep is if you naturally get tired and wake up around the same time every day.
  2. Exercise daily. A daily exercise routine of just as little as 30 minutes can help you fall asleep easier and get better quality sleep. In just 3-10 minute exercise bouts throughout your day you can improve your quality of sleep. If exercise is new to your routine, try not to work out too close to bedtime. While exercise can help you sleep at night, it can also stimulate your body so give yourself a few hours at the end of the night to wind down.
  3. Keep your bedroom calm, cool and comfortable. Create an environment that is made for sleep by making the room a cool temperature and keeping stimulants like TV, and electronic devices off. If you need noise to help you fall asleep consider a white noise machine. If reading on a tablet relaxes you, use the night reading feature to not over stimulate your brain. The key is to keep lights dim to get your brain to sleep mode.
  4. Watch what you eat….and drink. Certain foods and drinks that contain alcohol and caffeine can be enemies of sleep. While alcohol may make you feel tired it can actually block you from getting quality sleep. Caffeine will not make you feel tired and it can also hide in common drinks and foods. Chocolate, for instance, has caffeine as well as decaf coffee and soda. Make sure to read labels and know if caffeine is hiding in your food and drink.
  5. Help yourself to some stress management. Try different relaxation techniques such as stretching, listening to calm music or getting organized. If you still have a cluttered mind, write down your thoughts and what needs to be taken care of. Put it aside before bed and pick it up tomorrow. Feeling good before bed and clearing your mind makes for a restful night’s sleep.

A good night’s sleep is an important process to start any day with a productive and sharp mind. Using these helpful tips, you can be naturally energized and on your way to healthier living.

If you continue to be frequently tired, consult with your physician. There may be underlying causes for fatigue and sleeplessness. Sleep well and prosper!

On average, how many hours of sleep do you get per night?

Topics: productivity health and wellness sleep habits