What You Can Learn From The Best Sleeper In America

Forbes Magazine

Larry is the best sleeper in America. He is 70 and happy. Be like Larry.

May is Better Sleep Month, and seniors should be celebrating.

According to a new survey by The Better Sleep Council, retired adults and the nation’s baby boomers are sleeping great. And the Silent Generation—people born between 1925 and 1945—are the best sleepers of all.

The report—“State of America’s Sleep”—found that older generations are among the best sleepers in America and boomers make up 36% of excellent sleepers.

In their study, researchers uncovered several personas–one of whom is Larry, a 70-something retiree, and apparently the best sleeper in America. According to the report:

“The best sleeper in America is Larry, a 70-something retiree. Larry and his wife are Empty Nesters, living in an upscale neighborhood in the suburbs in the Midwest. Larry almost always gets 7-8 hours of sleep and feels rested in the morning. He is relatively pain-free when he wakes up – especially for someone his age. Larry takes sleep very seriously.”

Here are some tips from Larry:

  • He rarely has a bedtime snack.
  • He avoids caffeine entirely.
  • His bedtime routine includes reading – but no social media or email. (Because of this Larry’s usually asleep almost as soon as his head hits the pillow, and he rarely wakes up in the night.)
  • He feels his life is fulfilling.
  • He has a great relationship with his wife and the two of them have several close friends.
  • He has several interests and hobbies he enjoys, including attending plays and concerts.
  • He watches news on TV and is concerned about terrorism and immigration. However, it doesn’t affect his sleep.
  • He does some light exercising, but nothing too strenuous.

What are sleep disorders?

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”]
[et_pb_row admin_label=”row”]
[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]Article by medlineplus.gov

Sleep disorders are conditions that disturb your normal sleep patterns. There are more than 80 different sleep disorders. Some major types include

  • Insomnia – being unable to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is the most common sleep disorder.
  • Sleep apnea – a breathing disorder in which you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – a tingling or prickly sensation in your legs, along with a powerful urge to move them
  • Hypersomnia – being unable to stay awake during the day. This includes narcolepsy, which causes extreme daytime sleepiness.
  • Circadian rhythm disorders – problems with the sleep-wake cycle. They make you unable to sleep and wake at the right times.
  • Parasomnia – acting in unusual ways while falling asleep, sleeping, or waking from sleep, such as walking, talking, or eating

Some people who feel tired during the day have a true sleep disorder. But for others, the real problem is not allowing enough time for sleep. It’s important to get enough sleep every night. The amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, including your age, lifestyle, health, and whether you have been getting enough sleep recently. Most adults need about 7-8 hours each night.

What causes sleep disorders?

There are different causes for different sleep disorders, including

Sometimes the cause is not known.

There are also some factors that can contribute to sleep problems, including

  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • An irregular schedule, such as working the night shift
  • Aging. As people age, they often get less sleep or spend less time in the deep, restful stage of sleep. They are also more easily awakened.

What are the symptoms of sleep disorders?

The symptoms of sleep disorders depend on the specific disorder. Some signs that you may have a sleep disorder include that

  • You regularly take more than 30 minutes each night to fall asleep
  • You regularly wake up several times each night and then have trouble falling back to sleep, or you wake up too early in the morning
  • You often feel sleepy during the day, take frequent naps, or fall asleep at the wrong times during the day
  • Your bed partner says that when you sleep, you snore loudly, snort, gasp, make choking sounds, or stop breathing for short periods
  • You have creeping, tingling, or crawling feelings in your legs or arms that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening and when trying to fall asleep
  • Your bed partner notices that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep
  • You have vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing
  • You have episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you are angry or fearful, or when you laugh
  • You feel as though you cannot move when you first wake up

How are sleep disorders diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will use your medical history, your sleep history, and a physical exam. You may also have a sleep study (polysomnogram). The most common types of sleep studies monitor and record data about your body during a full night of sleep. The data includes

  • Brain wave changes
  • Eye movements
  • Breathing rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate and electrical activity of the heart and other muscles

Other types of sleep studies may check how quickly you fall asleep during daytime naps or whether you are able to stay awake and alert during the day.

What are the treatments for sleep disorders?

Treatments for sleep disorders depend on which disorder you have. They may include

  • Good sleep habits and other lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy or relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety about getting enough sleep
  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for sleep apnea
  • Bright light therapy (in the morning)
  • Medicines, including sleeping pills. Usually, providers recommend that you use sleeping pills for a short period of time.
  • Natural products, such as melatonin. These products may help some people, but are generally for short-term use. Make sure to check with your health care provider before you take any of them.