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Sleep: An Important Component of Successful Aging

When you consider your overall health, sleep might not be top of mind. But insufficient sleep – six hours or fewer per night – can lead to serious consequences. Sleep deficiency can cause problems in concentration, memory, and the immune system, and may even shorten life span. Studies have found that the brain appears to clear itself of waste products during sleep; without sufficient sleep, this waste builds up in the brain and may lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. According to researchers, every life-threatening disease in developed nations has causal or significant connections to lack of sleep.

Help promote your successful aging by following these tips for a healthy sleep routine.

  • Evaluate your room. The ideal sleeping temperature is cool – 60 to 68 degrees. Keep your bedroom free from any light or noise that might disturb you.
  • Create and stick to a schedule: Maintain routine bedtimes and wake times, even on weekends.
  • Practice a bedtime ritual: Before going to sleep, do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to soothing music. Avoid bright lights and do not use screens or watch TV in your bed.
  • Temporarily leave bed if you can’t sleep. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, leave your bedroom and repeat your pre-bedtime routine or write down what is on your mind. Return to bed when you’re ready to sleep.
  • Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Avoid exercising one or two hours before bedtime.
  • Make thoughtful choices. Avoid caffeine after 2:00 p.m. and do not drink alcohol before bedtime.

Did you know that Acacia Creek is a Certified Center for Successful Aging? Learn more about our gold-caliber standards.

– By Penny Vittoria, Successful Aging Coach

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