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12.21.20 | Sage Advice

Healthy Sleeping Habits for Seniors

Many of us struggle with getting a good night’s sleep. Due to the natural aging process and a decrease in hormone production, older adults experience less deep sleep — one of the most refreshing parts of the sleep cycle. That’s also why older adults are prone to waking up more frequently and often wake up feeling less rested. Today, we’re exploring remedies to help older adults achieve their best nights’ sleep, and it all starts with healthy sleeping habits.

Hitting Healthy Sleep Quotas

For older adults, experts recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Many older adults will naturally lean towards going to sleep earlier in the evening and waking up earlier in the morning, but still many will have to spend longer in bed each night to fall and stay asleep. In case a night’s sleep doesn’t get you to a full 7-9 hours, it’s okay to make up and take a nap during the day — but try to avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening to ensure your body will be ready for the next night’s sleep.

Developing a Routine

Finding a bedtime rhythm that works for you is essential to regularly getting a good night’s sleep. First and foremost, stick to the same bedtime. This allows your body to get used to a routine and to build up a strong circadian rhythm. Avoid artificial light as well, so as not to confuse your body to the time of day. Instead, make time to wind down before bed, by doing calming activities such as reading, taking a bath, meditating or practicing breathing techniques. You should also avoid alcohol before bedtime and limit liquid intake to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

Filling the Daytime

Naturally, the more energy used during the daytime, the more ready your body will be to rest at night. Getting in a day’s worth of moderate, regular physical activity contributes to better sleep — though be sure not to exercise three hours prior to bedtime. Experts also recommend engaging socially throughout the day; this uses up more of your brain’s energy as well as aids in personal fulfillment. Getting outside and enjoying the sunlight is also crucial to getting a good night’s sleep; this exposure to natural light will help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm. 

It comes as no surprise that many of the components of vibrant living contribute to healthy sleeping habits. As the saying goes — healthy mind, healthy body. 

A comfortable bed with many pillows
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12.01.20 | Sage Advice

5 Ways to Keep Your Memory Sharp

Did you lose your car keys? (Or these days, did you misplace your mask?) Forget that item on your grocery list that you know you needed? We all suffer moments of memory loss from time to time, but by establishing certain habits, we can fight to keep our memory sharp. Today, we’re sharing five easy ways to keep your mind — and your memory — healthy!

Exercise Regularly

With a healthy body comes a healthy mind. Moderate, regular physical activity is an essential component to maintaining overall health — not just for seniors, but for every age group. Regularly exercising helps stimulate blood circulation in the whole body, including your brain, and helps aid in preventing memory loss.

Eat Healthy

Not that we should need another reason to keep a healthy diet, but here it is anyway! Feeding your body and brain with ample nutrients is a great way to keep your mind sharp. Avoiding unhealthy habits, such as drinking too much alcohol, is also an important preventative measure, as this will cloud your brain. 

Sleep Soundly

The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sound sleep each night. Hitting this mark plays an important role in maintaining memory. During the process of sleeping, our brain works to consolidate memories so we’ll recall them easier down the road. In addition to solidifying memories, sleep also aids in transferring memories from short – to long-term.

Stay Social

Social interaction is crucial to maintaining brain health, particularly for seniors that live alone. Studies show that even ten minutes of social time a day can make a difference. Spending time with friends and loved ones helps us ward off stress and depression, both of which can contribute to memory loss.

Engage Your Brain

Just as muscles become stronger with exercise, so too does the brain improve with increased mental stimulation. There are endless ways to engage your brain, such as doing a daily Crossword or Sudoku puzzle. You can satisfy brain engagement and socialization simultaneously by playing a board game with a loved one. Reading is also a good (and fun) way to stimulate your mind. Or if reading isn’t for you, try picking up another hobby, such as indoor gardening or crafting.

Not only will these five steps help improve your memory, but they’ll contribute to living a more vibrant life overall, too.

An older African American woman hugs a young kid, who kisses her cheek
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