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For centuries, prophetic leaders have shared messages that came to them during their sleep. Sleep helps keep the mind, body, and soul in balance. Once you reach retirement age, it’s common to sleep between seven and nine hours, according to the National Institutes of Health. An active sleep life supports:
- A good circadian rhythm
- A strong immune system
- A healthy heart
- Healthy digestion
- Mental clarity
With aging, you may find yourself waking up earlier, requiring naps during the day, or taking longer to fall asleep. Be gentle with yourself, especially if you are taking supplements or medications that may affect your routines. Here are some common ways to improve your sleep habits:
Reduce your caffeine intake.
If you’re a coffee or caffeinated tea lover, then it’ll be difficult to completely free yourself from the grips of caffeine. It’s great for work productivity, but not so helpful in excess. Talk with a health specialist about how to balance your consumption.
Exercise is relaxing. Do some deep breathing, yoga, or tai chi before you go to bed. These practices will help you ease into a slumber.
Adjust your environment.
How is the lighting in the area where you sleep? Is the temperature comfortable? Do noises in or outside your sleeping area affect you? Make changes where possible.
Create a sleep ritual.
This can include treating yourself to a face massage before rest, slipping into comfortable attire, and making sure that you have a glass of water near you (hydration is always helpful). It can also include telling yourself that you’ll be kind to your digestive system by avoiding a heavy meal right before slumber.
Take a break from the television and your phone.
Nowadays, you don’t have to stay up to watch a television series or a movie because so many programs are available on demand. If you’re setting the intention to get some sleep, then try to set a limit on how much tv you’ll watch beforehand or how much talking, texting, or scrolling you’ll do on your phone.
If you have trouble getting good sleep, track your sleep patterns as best as you can. Insomnia and sleep apnea are just a few disorders that affect people in their sleep. Talk to a professional about what your needs may be.
Mental well-being is a cornerstone of healthy living. AARP wants to help you get healthier and stay healthy. Visit AARP’s Mental Health Center at www.aarp.org/mentalhealth for tips, tools and resources that can help you develop healthy habits for mental well-being.