I don’t know about you, but these days I just don’t sleep as well as I used to. Do you have difficulty sleeping through the night too?
An uninterrupted night’s sleep eludes me so I’m always looking for tips to apply (and to share with you) about how to get better sleep when you’re over 50.
Help me fall asleep!
Recently Dr Nick Mabbott a fatigue risk management specialist from Beyond Midnight Consulting gave a seminar on fatigue management, and some of his advice about sleep, why we need it, and ways to fall asleep quickly was really interesting and very well worth sharing.
Here are some selected tips from Nick’s seminar which might help if you have difficulty sleeping.
How long should I sleep for each night?
As a rule of thumb you should aim for 1hr sleep for every 2 hours awake which allows for the recommended 2 hours of deep sleep and minimum of 2 hours of REM sleep per 8hr sleep period.
Have a routine Bed Time
Ideally, you should have a routine bed time i.e. 10pm, and a routine wake up time i.e. 6am, that you stick to every night and morning where possible to ensure the above desired 8hr sleep cycle is achieved.
Deep sleep is necessary
Deep sleep is associated with happiness and growth as this is when the feel good hormone of serotonin and the human growth hormone (HGH) are produced.
What is REM Sleep?
REM sleep is associated with overall wellbeing as this is when the brain processes the events of your awake hours, including sorting and retaining memories and subconsciously solving problems.
Getting rid of Toxic Waste
Sleep also promotes the removal of toxic waste that builds up in the brain, which inhibits the neurons in the brain, causing tiredness and lack of energy.
Varying sleep isn’t good for you
If you get less sleep than you need each night in succession, you may not get all of the deep sleep and all of the REM sleep you require.
For example, if you sleep for 6 hours one night, you may get enough deep sleep but are not asleep long enough to get the required REM sleep.
The following night, the brain may attempt to capture the REM sleep as a ‘catch up’ and if you only asleep 6 hours, there may not be enough available time to get the deep sleep you require.
You can live on less sleep than you need. However, you may never be the “best version of yourself” while you do this.
How to fall asleep quickly
A warm shower is very effective just before bed. It helps to raise our core body temperature slightly, then when you are dry and in bed it drops. The slight drop in core body temperature assists with sleep onset.
Try not to get up for a wee!
Avoid going to the toilet purely for convenience during the day as this will keep the bladder small. If you only go when you need to go, you will increase the size of your bladder which may allow you to last the whole night before needing to go again.
Avoid difficulty sleeping and do those stretches
Poor flexibility is a major contributor to poor relaxation of the body’s defensive systems required to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you have difficulty sleeping through the night then try to include some form of flexibility and relaxation techniques into every day, such as stretching and meditating.
Less sleep could mean a shorter life
Research indicates that people who sleep less than the desired 8hrs, and only get around 4 – 6 hrs on average, may live shorter lives.
Do you have difficulty sleeping? What are some of your tips to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night?
Dr Nick Mabbott Bio
Dr Nick Mabbott is a Fatigue Risk Management Specialist with over 22 years of experience in sleep and fatigue risk management. He has provided fatigue management training and education to thousands of personnel.
His academic research work, coupled with workplace experience has shown that a considerable portion of employee fatigue is derived from poor quality or quantity of sleep. For this reason, he pays attention to assisting individuals with sleep disorders or an inability to adjust to some of the work schedules undertaken.
In the last seven years he has implemented his theory on sleep timing and many employees are now benefitting from increased sleep. More recently he has developed client-focussed training programs with a total of 29 modules, allowing clients to “bolt together” the perfect fatigue training program for their personnel. This also suits individuals, with modules on children and driving holidays. This is now online at Beyond Midnight.