Jake: Hey, I’m Jake of Body by Jake with your health and wellness tip of the day. Health and wellness time. You know, what that means? Dr. Art Mollen time. Dr. Art, it’s great to see you buddy. Got another great question for you: How could I get more sleep as I get older?
Dr. Art: Everybody worries about sleep and as you get older, I can tell you right now. You’re probably going to get less sleep than you previously did. Normally people would sleep say, seven to eight hours a night. As you get older, you may only sleep 6 to 7 hours. So one of the best things is don’t take a nap during the day.
That’s one mistake that I often see a lot of older people doing, is taking naps during the day. You have to eliminate that.
The other thing is don’t eat anything before you go to bed and don’t drink any water or any other fluids before you go to bed.
Jake: You say “before you go to bed.” So how long before you go to bed?
Dr. Art: At least an hour. The other thing is don’t drink any alcohol before you go to bed, because a lot of times, people think “well I’ll, you know, have a glass of wine,” or you know where “I’ll have a beer before I go to bed because it allows you to fall asleep.” That’s true. It does allow you to fall asleep. But unfortunately, it causes disturbed sleep patterns and you don’t get that restful type of sleep.
Jake: Explain that.
Dr. Art: You quickly fall asleep. You’ve had some alcohol but within two hours you become restless. That wears off, and it’s changing your metabolism. And therefore you don’t get what we call restorative sleep. So your sleep patterns are generally disturbed doing that. So again, if you are drinking a lot of fluids before you go to bed, you’re probably going to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. And that’s another issue for people as they get older, particularly for men who have enlarged prostates and that’s often a problem for them. Don’t eat any chocolate because it has xanthines in it. The chocolate is actually a stimulant. So try to stay away from you know, even if it’s a cocoa or something like that or a cup of hot chocolate.
Jake: What are some good things to help enhance sleep?
Dr. Art: So what I suggest is take some melatonin, melatonin helps. There are even medications that are prescription that actually increase melatonin levels in your body. So if you can, take melatonin, you can take three to six milligrams of melatonin at night. That often helps people sleep.
Jake: But check with a doctor before doing any kind of this stuff as well.
Dr. Art: If you’re having disturbed sleep patterns, you want to have an evaluation by your doctor and perhaps you want to get, go to a sleep center and even, you may have sleep apnea where you stop breathing at night so, you know, for a short period of time, so you want to get that checked out well done.
Jake: Dr. Art, as always, fantastic!