Tips For Sleeping Like A Kid Again
Try these simple suggestions for getting a good night’s sleep even when you’re all grown up!
One of the most baffling things about small children is how hard they fight to avoid having to go to bed. Because as adults, we can’t wait to crawl under the covers. Unfortunately, unlike kids who can often be down for a solid 8 to 12 hours straight once they finally nod off, sleep is more elusive to adults, especially as we age.
Why does sleep matter so much?
Aside from the obvious fact that a good night’s sleep makes you feel rested and ready to tackle a new day, sleep is an essential biological need. It’s when toxins are removed from our brains and everything from blood vessels to the immune system takes time for repairs. Sleep also helps control blood sugar levels, and it lowers our risk of diseases and disorders like heart disease, stroke, obesity, and dementia.1
Lack of sleep can even impact your hearing because it can cause poor blood circulation throughout your body – including your ears. And without adequate blood flow, the tiny hair cells inside the ear that play a key role in hearing can die.2
How much sleep do I need?
It’s a myth that adults need less sleep. It’s just that we get less. That might be due to factors beyond our control, like noise pollution in our homes or neighbourhoods, certain medications, or bladders that wake us up throughout the night. It could also be worries and anxieties making it hard to get to sleep, especially if we’ve woken up in the middle of the night for a trip to the bathroom.
But no matter what, the goal should still be to get at least 7 hours a night.
If you don’t have trouble sleeping but you still feel tired and foggy during the day, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have an underlying medical condition causing your fatigue.
How can I improve my sleep?
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to try to improve your sleep.
- ● Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Both are stimulants, and it can take 6 – 8 hours for the caffeine in your after-dinner cup of coffee to work its way out of your system.
- ● Stick to a schedule. Yes, even on the weekends! Your body will get used to the regular routine, and eventually it will be ready to snooze when it knows it’s bedtime.
- ● Watch your napping. Naps can be a healthy habit, but if you take them too late in the afternoon or make them too long, they’ll interfere with your sleep at night.
- ● Stay cool. A room that’s too warm can make sleeping difficult.
- ● Put your devices down. The blue light emitted by screens – including smartphones, computers, and TVs – may suppress the sleep hormone, making it harder to go to sleep.
- ● Exercise at the right time. Moving your body is a healthy habit that can help you sleep, but avoid vigorous activity within two hours of going to bed.
- ● Read a book. Reading is a great way to unwind and help you feel drowsy, but make sure it’s a physical book, not an eReader that emits that troublesome blue light.
- ● Give mindfulness a try. Guided meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques can all help to quiet our minds and relax our bodies.
Don’t forget your ears!
Noise pollution can certainly impact our ability to go to sleep and stay asleep (ask anyone who lives with someone who snores).
So if snoring, barking dogs, traffic or other irritating sounds are an issue for you, a white noise machine can help you tune them out. But if the noises in your home are too loud for that to be effective, try earplugs specifically designed to be worn when sleeping.
Tinnitus can also impact your sleep. After a busy day in a noisy environment, the quiet of a bedroom can make the hissing, roaring, ringing or buzzing sounds seem so much louder. Fortunately, while there is no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to reduce the impact it has on your life – and your sleep.
Wondering if you have tinnitus – or what to do about it if you do? Try this quick online tinnitus test (https://www.hearinglife.ca/hearing-loss/types/tinnitus/online-test), and then visit a HearingLife clinic near you to take advantage of a free, comprehensive hearing assessment. Because who knows? The satisfaction of knowing that you’ve been proactive about your hearing health might also help you sleep at night!