“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” – Thomas Dekker
As the quote implies sleep is important to our health and wellbeing. We are able to deal effectively with occasional sleep loss, but when the loss is chronic over a period of time, the sleep loss can markedly impair our health. It can lead to serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also weaken the immune system, making us more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
Chronic sleep loss also affects us psychologically. It tends to impair our mood and our ability to control our emotions. Sleep loss impairs our cognitive ability and memory and even our sex lives. It can make us more accident prone and increase chronic pain levels. Needless to say, getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is important.
Unfortunately as we age it becomes more and more difficult to get that good night’s sleep. Although the need for sleep doesn’t change with age sleep patterns change. Older people have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep, waking up several times during the night, and waking early in the morning. In addition, there is less deep sleep, so we don’t feel as rested. Insomnia is much higher in older adults affecting as many as 44%.
A safe and effective means for improving sleep in the elderly is important for the health and wellbeing of this vulnerable population. As a result the news that a simple, safe, ancient practice of mindful movement, including tai chi and qigong, may help improve sleep in the elderly is exciting. In today’s Research News article “The Effect of a Meditative Movement Intervention on Quality of Sleep in the Elderly: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”
Wu and colleagues summarized the research on mindful movement and sleep in the elderly and found that a three times per week practice significantly improved sleep quality in older adults.
In an upcoming post “Age Healthily – Tai Chi” tai chi practice was shown to help to slow cognitive decline with aging. These findings may be linked to the current findings as sleep loss is known to be associated with cognitive decline.
So, practice tai chi or qigong and age healthily by sleeping better