Getting Enough Sleep

I was visiting with a friend recently who is from Shanghai, China. When I mentioned that I didn’t feel that I was getting enough sleep, she recommended Ginseng Tea from Korea. She promised it would do wonders.

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How Much Sleep Do We Need?

In reality, there is no magic number of hours of sleep we need and it varies by person. Some people need 9 hours of sleep per day while others can get by with 6. A general guideline for older adults is between 7 and 8 hours of quality sleep per day. As people get older though, their sleep satisfaction often declines.

On doing a bit of research, I learned that sleep satisfaction for older adults mirrors our general health. And sleep is particularly affected for those with conditions related to the heart such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. As someone who inherited hypertension in my mid-40’s, that makes sense.

Sleep trends have shown that American adults get less sleep now than they did 40-50 years ago. In the 1960’s – 70’s, the average adult got 8-8.5 hours of sleep per night. Today adults average 7-7.5 hours of sleep per night, or less.

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As we get older, other issues also interfere with our sleep. Aches and pains associated with aging – sore back, aching knee – frustrate our sleep. And we also tend to wake up more during the night, which is why older adults often nap during the day.

And here’s the kicker: for older women, there’s menopause. After we’ve sacrificed sleep up to this point to raise our kids and work at our jobs, now when we actually can sleep a bit more, menopause causes women’s sleep patterns to go haywire. Rates of insomnia and apnea for women during this period go through the roof. As a perimenopausal woman, this is another piece to the puzzle.

What We Can Do

In addition to trying my friend’s Korean Ginseng Tea recommendation, there are other things we can do to improve our sleep. Breathing exercises, yoga and creating a good sleep environment are natural remedies to addressing chronic sleep issues. As adequate sleep affects our overall health and wellness, I will be trying all of these natural remedies to offset the progressive sleep issues that come with aging. And although I’m not yet needing a nap during the day, when that day comes I will embrace it!

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