I wrote this blog post in 2010 but I am updating it NOW. It turns out we were not right about sleeping on the wrong side of the bed. We were wrong about that new mattress we bought at Costco. See, those mattresses have only one sleepable side and the edges roll off on all sides. Once I measured the part we could actually sleep on I realized we lost a full 8 inches to a big slope. We returned the mattress, bought a king sized mattress. Now we both sleep a lot better no matter what side of the bed we are on. Anyway, here is that old article. The ideas here are still valid and ones that I have encorporated into my routine.
|A place to relax and read before bedtime!|
MARRIED PEOPLE, THE BEDTIME ROUTINE AND SLEEP
I write a blog about staying active as you age...remain flexible, I tell my readers, don't get stuck in a rut and refuse to try new things. We should at least try to change our routines occasionally. My thinking is that, just like our joints, our minds get stiff if we don't make it moving.
So, being the person with all the bright ideas, I suggested that my husband and I switch sides of the bed. I would sleep on the right side and my husband on the left. We needed to change things up...remain flexible...learn to love change! It was the principle of the thing not the bad or good of it. My husband is always up for a challenge so we did it...last October. It was a nightmare. He felt like he was falling off the bed and I slept with my knees in his face. And we did it for three months. Our sleep quality fell like a boulder off a cliff but neither one of us would admit that it was a problem...for us. It was his/my fault that the bed seemed really small and that we both wanted to sleep in the middle of the bed! If the other person would just straighten up and sleep in the right place the problem would be solved.
Then I folded...we need to talk I said. I cannot go on like this. Even though I know it was my idea, I was wrong. Can I please, please, please have my side of the bed back? My husband did not give in the first night but then, when I went to bed last night, there he was back on his own side of the bed. We both slept like we had not slept for 3 months. It was wonderful.
COMPUTERS AND SLEEP
Changing the bedtime routine is not the only thing that can interfere with our sleep. It turns out that there may be a relationship between our bedtime computer use and what our brains thinks about sleeping. The light generated by the computer screen or the ipad can fool our brains into thinking that the sun is up and interfere with brain waves. Researchers at Northwestern University are saying that computer use right before bedtime may "delay your ability to sleep". Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school's Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology said:
"...it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up." John D. Sutter, CNNNAPS VS NIGHT TIME SLEEP
As we grow older, we have both the time and the inclination to want a nap...I love a good nap better than chocolate. But the dilemma is whether this makes sleeping more difficult when we go to bed. Like all the other wicked pleasures we enjoy, it turns out that too much of a good thing is not a good thing at all. Sleeping all afternoon can lead to a bad nights sleep which leads to the need for a long nap...an so the cycle goes. I personally find that I sleep more when I am inactive or even (dare I say it) bored! The trick is to keep active and busy. If I do these things I never think about a long nap. If I do take a nap I try to set a mental alarm that only lets me sleep for a short while. When all those things do not work I just try to do better the next day.
The thing we need to remember is what our body needs in the way of sleep to function at a high level. A short nap during the day can actually help us stay active longer. Slogging through the evening feeling exhausted is not productive and certainly not pleasant.
OBSESSING OVER LOST SLEEP
I don't know if we can control what we think about or even talk about as we get older. I would hope that if you find every conversation beginning with some ailment or tale of woe, you could somehow re-train yourself to not do that. I know it gets much harder as we age. Training ourselves not to obsess over small things like a little lost sleep is good. We all know that obsessing over anything can be a problem. I have also learned that a lost night's sleep is not really important...I don't feel much different either way. So it seems that the trick is not obsessing about a good nights sleep or the lack of it. What I do is simply never talk about it. That works for me.
SLEEP...A PILL OR PEANUT BUTTER
I don't remember if I told you this or not but I saw an article the other day that listed peanut butter as a sleep aid! You heard me right...peanut butter. It seem that peanut butter has a chemical in it that promotes sleep. Here is the funny thing...I eat a tablespoon of peanut butter when I could not fall asleep and have done so for several years. I was actually surprised that there was a scientific reason it worked...I thought it was just a trick I played on my mind!
So I have come to these four conclusions regarding sleep and me:
- I probably have always slept on the same side of the bed from the time I was a child. I should not try to change that now.
- A good book is probably better before I go to sleep than spending time on the computer.
- All naps are good...if they are kept short. I feel better in the evening
- Obsessing and talking about how I sleep may keep me awake at night. And I know that no one is really interesting in hearing me talk about it.