Nothing makes us feel better than a good night’s sleep. And nothing makes us feel worse than a horrible night of sleeplessness.
As we get older sleep gets more elusive. We know we need it, especially during this festive season, but sometimes Hypnos just laughs at us. What to do?
We have tried sipping bourbon in the middle of the night, and lying in bed very quietly with our eyes shut. Neither one of these is sanctioned by experts. On the contrary, our experts—and others—seem to agree on these six steps:
- Maintain a consistent schedule. (Not so easy.)
- No coffee in the afternoon, a moderate meal at night, and little alcohol before bed. (Aargh. We want our coffee, dinner is our big meal and we need our wine!)
- No naps. (We love naps.)
- Do some exercise—but not right before bed. (We never exercise before bed.)
- Have a peaceful sleep environment. A calm, beautiful room and a comfortable bed that is there only for sleep. (OK but we worry about everything whether our eyes are open or closed. What to do about that?)
- Because of 5—don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy, and don’t stay in bed if you are unable to sleep. (Two counterintuitive ideas, for us.)
Since these don’t always work, at least for us, we have kept exploring other options. Here are four new possibilities:
- A wearable. Of course. The Apollo. It is billed as a stress relief tool, rebalancing your autonomic nervous system through a device worn on the wrist or ankle. We haven’t tried it. Let us know if you do.
- There are also apps that may help. We have heard about Sleepio and Somryst. Both are based on cognitive behavioral therapy—like Noom, a weight loss app that many of our friends swear by. We’ll let you know.
- Our children rely on melatonin. We have tried It. Maybe we need to up the dose. Next up—taking melatonin proactively to try to deal with jet lag.
- Matthew Walker on Masterclass. He is a great speaker, and tells you how awful it is for you not to get enough sleep, and how dangerous to accumulate a “sleep debt.” But he has some good ideas. For example, he seems less opposed to naps—at least short “power naps” or pro-active strategic naps of 15 or 20 minutes. Good man.
If you are really having problems, especially over a long period of time, see a medical professional. Which brings us to another point. We know quite a few women of our age who have sleep issues, and few who have had a doctor take them seriously. Is this another health issue women just have to live with because that’s the way it is? Hmmm.
Please share any tips you might have.
Karen and Erica are the co-founders or Lustre and the curators of Revel's Redefining Retirement Group.
This piece was originally published on Lustre.
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