If you’re looking for easy ways to relieve stress so you can sleep, I’ve got 4 solutions you’ll love.
But first, let me give some background on sleep and aging.
I used to think that getting older meant that I would need less sleep than my younger counterparts.
Perhaps perpetuated by anecdotal evidence of old guys waking up at the crack of dawn to meet their cronies for biscuits and coffee.
But now that I’m over 60, I know this isn’t true. At least for me. I still need as much sleep as I ever have to feel rested when I wake up.
An article published by the National Sleep Foundation says that aging adults need as much as 7, 8, or even 9 hours of sleep to feel fully refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
It’s a fallacy that older adults need less sleep than younger people.
It doesn’t matter if we are 24 or 64, we still need the same amount of sleep.
We don’t need less.
But, we may get less.
That’s because sleep patterns change as we age. And those changes can disrupt us from getting a good night’s sleep.
Normal sleep cycles change with age.
Sleep patterns change with aging, preventing older adults from getting the required amount of sleep they need to feel refreshed upon arising.
And I’ve learned that many of us find it much harder to fall asleep as we get older.
As if that isn’t enough to give us bedtime anxiety, we have less dreamless time – that state of unconsciousness where we have restorative rest.
Because of that, we wake more often during the night than our younger selves – on average 3 or 4 times.
As younger adults, unless awakened by a troubling nightmare, waking up in the middle of the night was hardly a concern.
However, because these wake times are more noticeable as we age, they often create stress as we lie there trying to fall back to sleep.
Another sleep cycle change that we experience as part of aging is rising earlier in the morning.
That’s not necessarily a troubling issue in and of itself.
The problem is that the transition time between sleep and waking is so abrupt it feels like we’re lighter sleepers than we used to be.
While these sleep cycle changes are a natural part of aging, the combination of these can leave us feeling tired and stressed out about sleep.
So, how can we relieve stress before retiring to get the much-needed sleep we desire?
The following methods work for me and are helpful for relieving stress before bedtime.
4 easy ways to relieve stress so you can sleep.
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No. 1 – Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has long been considered a natural remedy for helping with sleep and relaxation. I’m not claiming it’s a magic bullet. But it’s proven to work for me. Winding down in bed with a warm cup of soothing tea -inhaling its subtle aromatics – helps to quiet my mind and prepare for peaceful rest.
Sleepytime EXTRA is my favorite chamomile tea. The recipe includes valerian, a root commonly used to prevent insomnia. Sleepytime by Celestial Seasonings is available on Amazon and just about anywhere else where packaged tea is sold.
No. 2 – Bedtime Yoga
When I’m feeling high stress before bedtime, I turn to yoga. Yoga is a natural way to calm down and relax. I usually take Child’s Pose, while deeply inhaling and exhaling. It works wonders to dissolve the stress of the day. The benefits of having a regular yoga practice are numerous. I encourage everyone to try it for its overall healthful benefits.
Experiment with this quick bedtime sequence by one of my favorite Yogis. If you’re new to Yoga, settle into the mindset, and see if it helps to relieve stress so you can sleep.
No. 3 – Listen to Binaural Beats
Binaural beats is a sound therapy that slows brainwave activity. Studies show that it has the ability to reduce stress and improve sleep. If your brain is racing from thought to thought and you are having trouble falling asleep, try listening to binaural beats. They can quiet your mind and induce sleep.
From my experience, I can say that this kind of stress therapy is very soothing and calming to the nerves – whether at bedtime or any time of the day. Youtube has a wide selection of binaural beat videos to listen to. Or, if you have a Spotify account, you may browse there to find your favorites. Try the video below if you like.
No. 4 – Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a natural healing method that uses plant extracts to promote health and well-being. For thousands of years countries such as India, Egypt, and China use this therapy to ease pain and promote healing. Although there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence in the West to support the efficacy of aromatherapy, it’s widely used and accepted for its medicinal ability to relax the body and relieve stress.
Aromatherapy is commonly practiced through the use of essential oils. For bedtime stress, I like to add a drop of lavender essential oil on a cotton ball and place it near my pillow. It helps soothe away the stress of the day. Applying a lotion with essential oils to the skin is another way to reap the stress-relieving qualities of aromatherapy.
Bath and Body Works offers this Black Chamomile Sleep Lotion which is luxuriously aromatic. I love their products and tried this one after my daughter purchased it to improve sleep during a period of stress. You can find it on Amazon, or at Bath and Body Works locations.
Thinking that older adults need less sleep is a common misconception. In fact, the over 60 crowd needs just as much sleep as their younger counterparts. However, sleep patterns change with aging, preventing older adults from getting the required amount of sleep to restore full physical and mental refreshment.
Nevertheless, a bedtime routine of chamomile tea, yoga, binaural beats, or aromatherapy may relieve stress so you can get a good night’s sleep.
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Updated: 07/10/20 added additional information