Insomnia is the worst but for most of us, it’s a problem involving an occasional night or two. When it happens we notice we’re less sharp at work, less patient with loved ones and we notice that our choices often fall to things that we would normally avoid such as indulgence of convenience food or more risky behaviors. The first good night’s sleep we get brings about feelings of elation as we feel ourselves returning to normal.
How would you feel then if these issues of not enough sleep became your life? This is how many Seniors live their lives and many have been doing so for quite some time. Think about that next time your elderly neighbor yells at you to keep your dog off her lawn. In fact, statistics rate seniors as experiencing chronic insomnia at the alarming rate of 42% and I believe, based on my own private practice that this number is low.
Historically, medical facts have shown that we seem to require less sleep as we get older. Or is that we just get less sleep as we get old? Today’s seniors are more active, vibrant and involved in the community than ever before. They are also holding full-time employment longer and the number of grandparents who are actively involved or hold full custody of grandchildren is skyrocketing. It seems that at a time when our seniors need better rest more than ever, evolution hasn’t kept up and they are suffering for it.
Case study of a client age 65 raising two children from an absent son and daughter-in-law, she works full time with no husband and the oldest grandchild recently delivered her first great-grandchild and they are all under the same roof. Sleep, as you can imagine, is a rare blessing and often ends up low on the totem pole of priorities.
When I first started working with this client, we first had to overcome the habit and belief that everything and everyone else’s needs had to come first. Once a good balance was established here, getting her lots of good rest with hypnosis was as easy as one, two, three. Now, while the family is still as bustling as ever and they have many issues to deal with, my client starts her day with her best foot forward and her eyes, well rested, and wide open.
If insomnia is your problem, you may need to seek the help of a professional, or you may be able to solve the problem on your own with a few simple routines and some self-relaxation imagery to guide you into slumber.
First, remove all the distractions from the bedroom. This can mean handing responsibility for children over to someone else for a night or two, It also may mean dusting off the old alarm clock so that you aren’t tempted to stay up looking at a tablet or a cell phone until you fall asleep. Those memes will be just as funny tomorrow, I promise.
Next, commit to getting to bed around the same time every night. Only allow yourself to stay up if you are out, otherwise let better habits prevail.
Thirdly, write down briefly what you think it would take to give you the best night’s sleep you ever had. King size bed? Soft feather pillow? Having the room cooler or warmer? Whatever floats your boat or launches your ship to dreamland. Now when you lay down to sleep, don’t just try nodding off. Imagine you have all the things that you wanted for that perfect night’s sleep. Feel the room and your body be cooler. You know what that feels like, let it happen inside your mind. Imagine that soft feather pillow under your head. It almost feels like a gentle hug or caress. King size bed? That’s the easiest. Space spreads effortlessly with your eyes closed. Keep up this daydream. Add impossible elements to it. What would the bed feel like if it were up a big tree swaying gently in the wind? How about if the bed were floating on a lake or drifting silently through space? Think of what the clouds might look like floating over your head. What? You’re asleep already? Nightynite!