Blue Angel Solutions
is pleased to present HEALTHY TIPS, an
of tips, insights and suggestions related to
your health and well being.
Check back on the first of each month for a new one. We hope you enjoy them and here's to your health.
The surprising danger seniors
face from sleep loss
“Though sleep is called our best friend, it is a friend who often keeps us waiting!” -Jules Verne-
Over 70 million North Americans are finding sleep to be elusive these days, especially women and people over 65. They experience chronic problems either falling or staying asleep.
Maybe you’re one of them.
Getting enough sleep, and the right kind
Getting enough sleep, and the right kind, is absolutely crucial to your health.
In fact, ensuring a good night’s sleep may be the single most important thing you can do to avoid life-threatening conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Just ask Matthew Walker.
“I take my sleep incredibly seriously.”
Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at University of California, Berkeley.
According to Walker, we are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic,” and it’s costing people their lives.
“No aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation,” says Walker.
Some quick facts:
Research has also linked sleep loss with an increased risk of diabetes, dementia, hypertension, depression, heart attack, stroke, and respiratory disease.
Unfortunately, many people turn to drugs to solve their sleep loss problems, and this has consequences of its own.
The dangers of sleeping pills
Even if you used sleeping pills when you were younger, they present different risks as you become older. If you are over 65, you’d be well advised to think twice about sleep aids, whether prescription or over-the-counter.
The most common over-the-counter sleep medicines, including Tylenol Nighttime and Benadryl, contain a sleep-inducing ingredient known as diphenhydramine hydrochloride. Among the side-effects are dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, and slower reaction time.
These side effects tend to be more pronounced in older adults, who already have slower metabolisms, and often lower body weight. Also, the side-effects are often written off as just another “thing” that happens with age.
The biggest risk, though, is falling.
Getting up to use the bathroom at night becomes a more frequent event with age. Dizziness, lightheadedness, and slower reaction times can result in a fall, possibly a broken bone. This is often the beginning of a string of more serious health problems, particularly if you have osteoporosis.
So, how do you get more sleep?
Changes in our sleep-wake cycle are normal as we age. But there are still things you can do to help your body regulate its sleep patterns, and bring about more restful sleep.
Finally, if all else fails, there is a form of therapy that could help.
Dr. Ariel Green, geriatric health specialist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, reports that cognitive behavioral therapy has been as effective as medication for those who are willing to work with a therapist.
We hope you've enjoyed this month's Healthy Tip.
Join Us Next Month for a New Healthy Tip