QUESTION: I’ve had trouble sleeping as I’ve gotten older—is this a big problem?
ANSWER: Persistent insomnia becomes more common as we age. It’s a risk factor for weight gain and can disrupt the body’s regulation of blood sugar, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Continued lack of sleep can also affect cognitive function and increase stress-hormone levels that raise blood pressure and promote inflammatory changes associated with chronic disease. In other words, this is one problem you need to address.
For better sleep, try a technique like this relaxation breath exercise when you get into bed tonight. (For more help sleeping, check out these 20 ways to sleep better every night.)
- Exhale through your mouth.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of 4.
- Hold your breath for 7 counts.
- Exhale for 8 counts.
- Repeat the sequence 3 times.