Wisdom and confidence blossom with age. So, what advice do two women in their 70s have for younger women?
Sleep Number asked two women who have navigated through college, raising children and middle-age to share how their sleep has evolved through the decades. Here's their 70-year-old wisdom, from their bed to yours.
Retired public relations and marketing consultant, author of “Husbands: An Owner's Manual"
"I have very little trouble going to sleep these days — unlike my 30s and 40s, when I was running a business and raising a child," she says. Now that she's semi-retired, she's in bed by 10:30 p.m., and sleeps until 6:30 a.m. — a solid eight hours. “I almost never have a problem falling asleep."
40s Sleep: 5 on a 1-10 scale. Schindler was president of the Chicago area chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. On top of work and family, she was stretched thin, and her sleep showed it.
50s Sleep: 6 or 7 out of 10. An empty nest helped Schindler stop worrying about her son, and midlife wisdom enabled her to handle stress more effectively. Games helped her sleep. “I would try to recall every man, famous or not, who had the name William or Joseph," she notes. This was "just interesting enough to keep me from thinking of stressful problems, and boring enough to put me to sleep."
60s Sleep: 10 out of 10. Schindler merged her business with a partner and stepped back from most of her outside organizational duties. She also incorporated exercise.
Takeaway: An Account Temps survey found that younger workers are more likely to lie awake at night over work and
family issues. Ask yourself what keeps you up or wakes you in the middle of the night — is it family, job, money? Once you figure that out, look for fixes. Decompress with exercise, meditation or laughter with friends. Recall or categorizing games (list every dog breed, flower or tree type) can help by focusing your mind.
Retired school counselor, author of "Successful Second Marriages"
City: St. Louis
40s Sleep: 10 on a 1-10 scale. Bubash lived abroad and walked constantly. “At night, I sunk into the soundest, darkest, most untroubled sleep. I woke up refreshed, ready to meet the day," she shares. Relationship troubles and worrying about her children plagued her 20s and 30s, but with her children now grown, and the relationship's end, her 40s brought sounder sleep.
50s Sleep: 5 out of 10. Her parents began to have health issues. Her adult children struggled with life problems. She was stressed and not sleeping well. Menopause didn't help, either. "I remember waking up very, very warm [in winter], kicking off covers," she says. "I did not want to take hormones so I just lived with that bit of irritation for about a year."
60s Sleep: 8 out of 10. Bubash purchased a cabin on a lake an hour's drive from home. “I was immersed in nature — lovely dark, quiet nights. I am not a napper, but I would take naps," she recalls.
Takeaway: Strive to quell your worries so they don't interfere with sleep. "I took them [worries] to bed with me every night," she confesses. "It would have benefited me to seek out a counselor."
Find an outlet, like spending time in nature, which works wonders for deep sleep. Change how you think about a situation — if you're worried you'll be awake at 3 a.m., you probably will be. Called "learned insomnia," you can break the pattern by practicing good sleep habits such as going to bed at the same time every evening, skipping caffeine, and limiting screens at night.
Quality sleep will keep you performing your best. Like diet and exercise, sleep is essential for optimal health and performance. Because everyone's sleep needs are different, Sleep Number beds adjust to your ideal level of firmness, comfort and support, and have a 25-year limited warranty.** Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep.
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Photo by Aris Sfakianakis