No discussion of well-being would be complete without considering the importance of a good night's sleep. As we get older we may need slightly less sleep but a good night's rest is still important to our overall health. Lack of sleep is associated with feeling tired, lacking in energy, feeling irritable, being slow to react, poor concentration and poor memory. In his book The Longevity Prescription" The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life, Dr Robert Butler makes the assertion "many things can produce sleeplessness, but ageing in itself is probably not one of them". The old assertion that poor sleep is an inevitable part of ageing is simply not true. When insomnia occurs it is usually precipitated by other factors, many of which can be changed or compensated for.
There have been many studies undertaken to identify the impact of sleep on our minds and bodies. They have found that sleep is important for
Strategies for a good night's sleep
Here are the most important things to consider when you find yourself having difficulty in sleeping -
Featured Activity - The After Work Club
The After Work Club is a social venture intended to help older people keep connected, active and motivated as they transition from full-time work into retirement. An initial research study, mainly focused on older professional men, found that many struggled with the lack of structure and camaraderie in their lives once they stopped work.
The research also found that the retirement process can feel like a "cliff edge" to some people, where you can go from working full pelt to doing nothing in a very sudden way. They may have thought about their financial security but there is little to prepare them for a life that they need to structure for themselves. These people feel that they still have a huge amount to offer, they want to do more and they do not want to be labelled "retired".
The After Work Club functions in two ways. Firstly there are regular meet ups which feature talks from inspirational older people who have used retirement as an opportunity to do great things, as well as informal networking and drinks. These are supported by an online hub where inspirational stories are housed, networks and discussions can be formed and events organised.
The After Work Club was created initially as a social activity where people could network with others in the same situation. The organisers found that the meetings generated a huge amount of untapped energy. In order to harness this energy a Task Force was created with the idea of making use of the skills, and experience of these people to tackle real world problems. The outcome has been the enhanced feelings of self worth that result from being able to help others in a constructive way.
To learn more about the After Work Club, take a look at this short video -
If all this wintry weather makes you feel like curling up with a good book, then Michael's December article is the perfect Christmas present! Click here to read Michael's selection of the best reading matter from 2016.
Jeanette tells me that In North America, there is a sleep awareness week, usually held in March, that promotes sleep hygiene. Sounds like a great idea! Click here to read Jeanette's article.
Peter sent me this article about the Men's Shed in Holywood, County Down. Holywood is an attractive small town on the shores of Belfast Lough. They were among the first Men's Sheds to set up in Northern Ireland. To read about how they are progressing, click here.
Reflections is intended to showcase short pieces of poetry or prose that reflect on our life experience. This month features another poem by my late friend and colleague, Philip Clarke. Phil was originally from the South of England, before marrying a local girl and coming to live in Northern Ireland. A bit of a film buff, he was obviously not enamoured by the Hollywood, California depiction of his native land!. To read "Hollywood", by Philip Clarke, click here.