Restless nights and inactive days are anticipated parts of old age. We believe that as the years mount so will our inertia and nocturnal disruption, and that the only thing we can do is accept it. We find a comfortable chair in the living room to ease our waking hours and resign ourselves to tossing and turning through the night. We consider complaining and possibly do, but only to those in the same situation as us – only to other sufferers. As a result, we end our lives having accepted a sedentary, sleepless existence and likely having compounded any forms of ill health. But we don’t have to.
Our preconceptions about age are largely mythological. Not every elderly individual suffers from constant fatigue. And very few lack the ability to remain active well past 65. The actual causes of such limitations are often undiagnosed or untreated conditions that could be taken care of, if addressed. Arthritic complaints, for example, can disturb both night and day habits. The aches and pains, however, can be lessened with therapy, medication and exercise. Afterwards, you could find yourself moving more and sleeping longer, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
If you aren’t sleeping through the night or if you spend your days constantly fatigued, talk to your doctor. Seniors need just as much sleep as a young adult, which means you should be logging a significant amount of shuteye. Figuring out what’s causing the disturbances, whether it’s a sleep disorder, reaction to medication or sign of another illness, will allow you to reunite with your bed in a happy, healthy, unconscious way.
If you find yourself constantly couch-bound, tweak your mindset. Older adults can exercise. Aerobic workouts, strength and flexibility training should be a regular part of your routine. If it is, you’ll have higher energy levels, less pain and an improved quality of life. I’m not telling you to run a marathon; I’m simply advising you to get up and get going. Otherwise, the myths of old age will become a reality.
For more information on healthy aging and how to ensure it, check out the Healthy Aging Campaign.