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6 Ways to Overcome Age-Related Insomnia

Sleep specialists at Dokkyo Medical University in Japan have suggested that age-related insomnia doesn’t have to be a given. According to Medical Daily, there are a number of diet and lifestyle interventions you can implement to overcome sleep difficulties, from avoiding caffeinated beverages at night to not taking daytime naps or using tobacco products.

Although you may have heard that there’s nothing you can do about losing sleep as you age, the truth is, as the featured article suggests, there are a number of things you can do to turn your restless nights into sleep-reviving times.

To get a good night’s sleep, you first have to understand that skimping isn’t good: Research suggests most adults need about eight hours of sleep every night. You might fool yourself into thinking you can “go” on six or less, but the truth is your body knows the difference. That said, here are six ways to get a better night’s sleep, especially as you age:

1. Set your bedtime and try to stick with it on a regular basis. Your body’s circadian rhythm will set to the schedule you give it, so keeping in mind that you need about eight hours of sleep, go to bed at a time at night that will offer that eight hours by the time you wake up. So, if you’re an early riser and you get up at 5 or 6 a.m., then go to bed at by 9 or 10 p.m. — providing you fall asleep within 15 minutes of when you go to bed.

2. Turn off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime to give your eyes and your brain time to shut down from the blue lights of those electronics, which can interfere with your body’s serotonin levels and ability to fall asleep. Also get rid of electronic gadgets and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in your bedroom, as EMFs harm your body's mitochondria by producing excessive oxidative damage, so "marinating" in EMFs all night, every night, can cause or contribute to virtually any chronic ailment, including premature aging.

3. Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room, such as that from a clock radio LCD screen, can disrupt your internal clock and your production of melatonin and serotonin, thereby interfering with your sleep (and raising your risk of cancer).

4. Keep the temperature in your bedroom to 70 degrees F or a little less. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep. When you sleep, your body's internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep.

5. Avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime, particularly grains and sugars. Also avoid alcohol just before bed. All of these will either raise your blood sugar, delay sleep or raise your risk of acid reflux. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable to fall back to sleep. Aside from that, eating too close to bedtime can harm your health in other ways. If you consume more calories than your body can immediately use, there will be an excess of free electrons, which back up inside your mitochondria.

6. During the day, make exercise a part of your daily routine, but avoid it just before bed as studies show it may stimulate your body and make it difficult for you to settle down and go to sleep quickly.

Other strategies include making it a point to boost your melatonin naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night or, if you’re having difficulty going to sleep, try the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).

EFT can help balance your body's bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to your insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically long lasting and improvement is remarkably rapid. Most people can learn the basics of this gentle tapping technique in a few minutes.

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