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Getting Adequate Sleep in Your Golden Years: Helpful Tips for Seniors

September 18th, 2018

Photo By: Pixabay

Getting Adequate Sleep in Your Golden Years: Helpful Tips for Seniors

As crazy as this sounds, you spend about one-third of your life sleeping. Unfortunately, as you age, sleep might not come as easily. According to The Washington Post, those over age 65 report having sleep issues, including falling and staying asleep. These sleep concerns can cause health issues such as depression, functional decline, and an overall decline in quality of life. If you are one of the many seniors struggling to get a good night’s rest, check out these tips to revamp your sleep routine.

Be Mindful of Midnight Snacking

There’s nothing wrong with a snack or warm drink before bed, especially if your grumbling stomach is keeping you awake, but you need to be mindful of what you are eating and drinking. Stick to small meals to avoid feeling bloated, and try to reach for sleep-inducing foods like lean protein and complex carbs. Both contain a high level of tryptophan, an amino acid that the brain converts to melatonin to give you that sleepy, relaxed feeling. Warm drinks are a great way to relax and unwind before bed too, but avoid anything with caffeine so that you aren’t lying awake all night. It is best to stop drinking liquids about an hour or so before bed to avoid constant bathroom trips and the accompanying interrupted sleep.

Get Those Steps In

If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do. However, there is a strong link between regular exercise and sleep. In a study of sedentary seniors in their 60s with sleep disorders, it was found that daily exercise increased their amount of deep, sound sleep by 45 minutes to an hour, and many woke up far less. Those with sleep disorders such as insomnia suffer from an overactive stress system, and exercise tones down the stress response and enables you to fall asleep more quickly.

Before you start exercising, it is important that you take into account your fitness level to choose the appropriate exercise. If exercise hasn’t been a part of your regular routine for some time, talk with your doctor about the best place to start to avoid injury. Start slow, take your time, and try out different activities to keep things fun and exciting.

Give Your Sleeping Quarters a Makeover

The bedroom is where sleep happens, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is an environment conducive to sleep. The ideal sleep environment should be clutter-free. Don’t let work, hobbies, or bills creep in and cause you to feel overwhelmed and distracted. Bedrooms aren’t home offices or a dumping zone, so take the time to clear away the stressors.

The room should be relatively dark, which can be achieved through the use of blackout curtains and sleep masks. Noise is another area that leaves you tossing and turning, whether due to it being in excess or too quiet. Use a white noise or sound machine that emits relaxing sounds to help you drift off to sleep and drown out any annoying noises such as traffic, barking dogs, or the rattle of the A/C. Speaking of air conditioning, your body temperature drops as you fall asleep, and keeping the room cool with ceiling or floor fans can aid in this process.

Make sure your bed isn’t the sleep culprit either. Some mattresses are firmer than others or made of breathable material to allow airflow. If you can’t remember the last time you bought a new mattress, it’s time to go shopping. Creating a sleep-inducing environment can be done quickly and inexpensively if you channel your inner smartshopper and look for coupons, promo codes, and cashback opportunities. Most of your favorite retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target offer these ways to save, meaning you have zero excuses not to give your bedroom the facelift it needs to help you get some restful sleep.

Sleep problems aren’t a normal part of aging. It’s time to take control and capture more of those Z’s. By adjusting your diet, starting a regular exercise routine, and adjusting your bedroom to promote more restful sleep, you are well on your way.

Do Your Teeth Hurt When You Eat Sugar?

November 16th, 2016

Many people find that their teeth are very sensitive to certain foods, sugar being one of them. With Halloween behind us (hopefully you participated in our candy buy-back!), you may have experienced this. Or perhaps your teeth hurt when you eat cold foods like ice cream or even hot foods like soup.

This condition is fairly common (about half the population has suffered from tooth sensitivity one time or another) and is called root or dentin hypersensitivity.

According to Colgate Oral Care Center, "The sweets so many people crave are loaded with fermentable carbohydrates, which combine with bacteria in your mouth to form acids. Those acids contribute to enamel erosion. And the higher the sugar content in the food, the greater the acid production. Tooth decay is the ultimate result from enamel reduction, and incidentally, when you continue to consume these foods, that same sugary flavor can trigger the pain it created."

So how can you combat this issue? Unfortunately, there isn't one simple fix. However, switching from unhealthy, processed foods (which have high amounts of sugar) to fruits and vegetables as well as practicing regular oral hygiene (this includes your visits to the dentists!) can certainly help.

Also, one simple piece of advice: slow down when you eat! You'll find that this may ease tooth sensitivity and may even help you consume less food by simply eating mindfully.

To Floss or Not to Floss?

August 3rd, 2016

Of course, we all know that's a silly question. (With the answer being a resounding, "YES!")

Earlier this week, the Associated Press released a report that flossing may not be all it's cracked up to be.

According to the Huffington Post, a letter to the AP from the government acknowledged that the benefits of flossing had not been researched properly.

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology also claimed that some studies weren't long enough, didn't have enough participants or used outdated testing methods to be considered reliable.

While these are valid points, ADA spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina rebukes, "Nobody’s done a study to say that using a parachute jumping out of an airplane is safer than not using a parachute." He also stated, “There’s only so many research dollars and so much research effort,” he said. “So not a lot of effort has been put into the study of dental flossing, just simply because there are other more important things for us to do.”

So as much as you'd like to try to fool yourself into believing that flossing may not be beneficial, Messina maintains, “We need to remove bacteria from the teeth, from the gums, and from in between the teeth."

In addition to that, flossing helps prevent plaque buildup, reduces the risk of periodontal disease and removes any traces of cilantro from that fresh guac you had for dinner earlier.

Stay flossy!

Happy Father's Day!

June 16th, 2016

What are your plans for Father's Day? Hopefully with this warm weather, you'll have some fun outdoor activities planned.

If you choose to keep it indoor, here's a cool tooth origami tutorial that you can do with your Pops or other family members.

Don't forget to remind Dad to brush before bed, even if it's a long day. Did you know that men are less likely than women to take care of their oral health? According to KnowYourTeeth.com, "Men are less likely than women to take care of their physical health and, according to surveys and studies, their oral health is equally ignored."

Also, take it easy during the touch football game; while we would gladly welcome you in, we're not open on weekends (yet)! ;)