There are things we can get away with in our teens and twenties that become a lot harder to pull off once we’re in our thirties and forties. For instance, many of us have fond college memories of eating tacos for dinner every other night in college or going out and drinking until 2 a.m. in our early twenties. But as we age, our metabolism changes and slows down. It doesn’t mean we’ll wake up on our thirtieth birthday and find out we’ve suddenly gained ten pounds, but it is something we need to be aware of so we can actively combat it. The same is true of sleep: at age 22, it’s easy to go to bed at 2 a.m. and wake up at 7 a.m., but at 32, we’re a little more likely to be miserable if we don’t get at least six hours of rest most nights.
Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene
That’s not all the bad news about trying to sleep in your 30s and beyond. For many people, their 30s are a time when their sleeping patterns get noticeably worse and stay that way. The problem is worse for men, but women catch up eventually. It becomes harder and harder to get to sleep, especially if you do something like play video games before hitting the hay. When you do get to sleep, you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night for whatever reason. To combat this, try going to bed early — but don’t go to bed too early. If you’re lying in bed and playing games on your cell phone, that’s not going to help. It’s better in some cases to get up and go read a book or watch TV on the couch than it is to stay in bed and stare helplessly at the ceiling. Try to get up at the same time every day, even though that’s not as much fun as sleeping in on weekends. Having good “sleep hygiene” is tough in an era full of mobile devices and smartphones, but it’s an essential part of being an adult. If you have to, put your phone in another room when you go to bed so when you won’t be tempted to fiddle with it. If you use your phone’s alarm clock, then place your phone in a spot in your bedroom where you have to get out of bed to reach it.
If you improve your sleep hygiene and find that you still aren’t resting well, it might be time to talk to your primary care physician about getting a referral to a sleep specialist. A sleep specialist can perform a sleep study, also known as a polysomnography, and help you figure out what’s going on with your body when you’re trying to sleep. The study may reveal you have something like sleep apnea, a potentially dangerous condition that can often be treated with a CPAP machine. CPAP machines have come a long way in recent years, and they’re even easier to clean now that companies like So Clean exist.
Exercise is another thing that can help treat a lot of different conditions, including sleep apnea and insomnia. More than 100 million Americans suffer from insomnia, and working up a sweat has been shown to improve both self-reported and objective measures of sleep quality. It’s also a more natural remedy for insomnia than sleeping pills. Speaking of natural, if you work out so much that your muscles are sore, it’s not a bad idea to look into natural remedies like curamin before trying over-the-counter remedies. Curamin can offer relief from things like joint pain and muscle strain but minus all those pesky side effects you’ll find in other medicines. If you’re hurting a lot, be sure that you aren’t pushing yourself too hard at the gym. The harder you push yourself, the more likely you are to end up with an injury that forces you to stop exercising entirely until you heal. By the way, experts think the best time to exercise is still in the morning, although working out in the evening still offers benefits. Just be sure to finish your workout at least a couple hours before bedtime.