As senior citizens, we find ourselves during the later years of our lives with more stress than we could have imagined in our younger years. Rather than traveling, spending time with family and friends leisurely in our “golden years”, those dreams of our lives have been replaced with anger, fear and uncertainty for ourselves and our families. The result is that our health and well-being are in jeopardy. At this point we are confronted with adjusting to new way of life, which is not what we had in mind.
I searched the “www” for some coping mechanisms to possibly relieve our anxiety. Meditation and Mindfulness were at the top of many lists for relaxing methods to relieve all sorts of issues, and to enhance our senior citizen lives. Some things that were listed as benefits are summarized below:
♦ less stress, more happiness, longevity, younger looks. ♦ creativity, body healing, focus and motivation. ♦ willpower, better sleep, activates the happy part of your brain.
Now that the holiday furor has settled down for most of us, I would like to share with you that I often hear my senior friends discussing how much sleep they are NOT getting. Or, that they don’t NEED much sleep.
It turns out that it’s not a good thing when we are sleep deprived at any age. In his book “Why We Sleep“, neuroscientist and sleep expert, Matthew Walker, gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. According to his research, sleep helps our ability to learn, regulates our appetite, assists with our well being and immune system. It affects our emotions, and metabolism. Walker further suggests we can utilize sleep to improve our energy levels, regulate hormones, prevent cancer, to name a few. He also says that sleep slows the effects of aging. The list is much longer than what I have shown here.
According to a blog post I read, the less senior citizens sleep, the faster their brains age. I also learned that seven hours of sleep daily was perfect for cognitive function. In addition, sleep for senior citizens is important to provide time to heal from other health related issues.
Living as a senior citizen comes with various challenges. Some mornings I wake up with a pain I did not have the day before. Other mornings, I find myself feeling a little anxious about an upcoming medical test, or just plain nervousness due to “who knows what?”
On occasion, my sleep is affected by nervousness (the latter occurrences). I do find, however, that taking a 30 minute walk calms me down; makes my aches and pains more manageable, and I also sleep better during the night.
A recent study suggests that moving can enhance our sleep patterns, and, in this case, walking fits the bill. It turns out that we do not have to work out strenuously in order to gain the benefit of a good night’s sleep. Taking more steps during our monthly activity can give us better sleep quality. That’s welcome news for those of us who do not have the physical ability or time to do more intense routines.
In past posts we also learned that walking can help those of us with arthritis feel better and reduce pain.