Often we talk about how important it is to stay active and fit as we get older. We all know that it is important to keep up exercising as we get older. Walking is a great way to do this, as are other light forms of low-resistance exercise. But it is less common to talk about the vital importance of rest. Resting is just as important as exercising. Many people can fail to really understand this and it can have a negative impact on their own health. As we get older building in rest and relaxation time is really important for our bodies. As you get older it is important to acknowledge that you aren’t the same person you were twenty years ago. You aren’t going to be able to be as constantly busy and rushing around as you used to. Your body really needs to rest and relaxation time now.

Resting is often about sleeping. However, getting a good nights sleep as you get older can be more and more difficult. Sometimes it can be because of medication, diet, or other health issues, but sleepless nights are surprisingly common amongst elderly people. You may find that you have trouble falling asleep. Some studies have shown it can take some people over thirty minutes to get to sleep. You also may find that you are waking up in the night more. This could because of needing to use the bathroom, waking because of a noise or your partner moving around. However, there are some easy things you can do to help you get a good nights sleep and the rest your body so vitally needs. Perhaps before you go to sleep you could try to have a quick warm shower. Or you could try to read a book or listen to some music. All of these activities will help you to relax and get in the right mindset that will help your body go to sleep. Reading a kindle, looking at your phone or working on a laptop computer are all things you really shouldn’t do before you try to go to sleep. Doing these activities will mean you work against trying to sleep, as they will keep your brain awake for much longer, and you will be struggling to rest. Also, try to avoid drinking a lot of coffee or eating big meals or large amounts of snacks before bed, as this can all stop you from sleeping. Instead, eat earlier in the night.

As a senior, you should be looking to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Everyone can be different, but this is the usual amount needed. If you don’t feel refreshed when you wake up and ready to start the new day, then that is a sign you aren’t getting enough sleep and rest. Think about trying to follow a regular sleep and rest cycle. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, so your body can recognize sleep and awake time. Make sure you stick to this schedule even on holidays! As well as a sleep cycle, try to get into an evening routine, so your body can recognize that it should be winding down for rest.

As well as sleep, there are other forms of rest and relaxation that are important for older people. Relaxation techniques can actually improve your immune system, help with blood pressure and reduce any stress you may have. Some of these techniques include massage, hypnosis, and meditation. Who doesn’t love a massage!? Massage gets your body to a point of relaxation, and the kneading rhythm can help to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety. Hypnosis is also about getting your body to a point of relaxed concentration. At this point your body will be more open to blocking out pain or will be better able to change pain into something positive. Finally, meditation is about taking the focus of your mind from feelings of pain and anxiety and instead of moving it to something positive, by envisaging calming images or sounds. Relaxation doesn’t have to be as specific as these techniques. You can just try some simple things like sitting down and writing or reading a favorite book.

Focusing on trying to get some quality rest, sleep and relaxation time in your life shouldn’t be a fleeting thought. You should make time to think about resting and plan it into your day. Having good quality rest and sleep will keep your mind alert and awake, whilst also preserving your energy and helping you to live your life to the full. Not only will you feel great by being well rested, but you will also reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Like regular exercise, regular rest will help you to live a longer and happier life.