Poor sleep is NOT inevitable [with ageing]

I’ve been a night owl for most of my life, but once asleep, I’d sleep for a solid eight hours and wake refreshed. In recent years, however, my sleep has become progressively worse, with eight hours becoming six and much of that ‘broken’.

Me…without the spots

I thought, “Well, I am in my sixties…”

That resigned thought joined a host of others as more physical niggles set in. Arthritis in my big toes? Check. The beginnings of arthritis in my right thumb? Check. Deteriorating eyesight? Check. Reduced energy? Check. Reduced ability to think? Kinda. I can still do mental gymnastics first thing in the morning, but by late afternoon my mind and body cries out for a nana nap… -sigh-

I solved the problem of the arthritis [at least for now] by eating a bowl of Morello cherries with plain yoghurt for breakfast every day. The Morello cherries [also called ‘black cherries’] contain ‘…anthocyanins โ€“ plant pigments that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The Morello cherries don’t cure the arthritis, they simply reduce the inflammation. And they do it without destroying the lining of your stomach like most chemical anti-inflammatories. Most importantly, they will keep you pain free if you keep eating them. Plus they are delicious.

I owe the late Bob Hawke for the tip about the Morello cherries. And no, I’ve never had a direct line to Bob Hawke. ๐Ÿ™‚ Like many others, Iย  watched an interview in which he mentions that he controls his arthritis with Black Cherries. I did my research and discovered that Black Cherries = Morello Cherries and they really do work.

[Note: you can find Morello Cherries in glass jars at most Coles, Woolworths and IGA supermarkets. The cost is about $4 per jar.]

The eyesight is still a problem as I need three hands and a strong magnifying glass to thread a needle…BUT, I think I’ve solved the sleep, energy and brain power problems. And they all boil down to one thing – avoiding ‘blue light’ for a couple of hours before bed!

“Blue wavelengthsโ€”which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and moodโ€”seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.”

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

If you go to the Harvard Health website [see link above] you’ll see a picture of someone lying in bed, reading from an electronic device. That used to be me. I’d hop into bed, get comfy, turn on my Kindle Fire and read for half an hour or so.

Reading in bed is a habit I’ve followed since I was about eight years old. It never occurred to me that changing my reading material from books to the Fire would have any negative effects. After all, I’d spent years reading my ordinary Kindle without any ill effects. Trouble is, I didn’t realise that the Kindle Fire screen is back lit with blue light while the ordinary Kindle has no back lighting.

I’d still be struggling with poor sleep, and all the ills that flow from it if not for Navigator, an online friend with life long sleep problems. His problems are slowly disappearing thanks to a simple change of routine and some Melatonin tablets. I figured if the ‘cure’ works for him, it might work for me too. I don’t take the Melatonin [yet], but I have been turning off the pc, a bit earlier and reading an old fashioned book for the last couple of weeks. And it’s working. Honest!

My next step will be to get a special filter for my pc. Apparently you can set it to change the backlighting from blue to a kind of sepia at sundown. You can also get prescription glasses made up with an inbuilt blue light filter, but as you’d expect, they’re kind of expensive.

Anyway, if poor sleep is something you’ve been living with for a while, try to reduce the amount of blue light from electronic devices, especially in the evening. You may find that poor sleep is not a function of your age at all.

Cheers

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

45 responses to “Poor sleep is NOT inevitable [with ageing]

  • roughwighting

    Black cherries, huh? I’ll have to get some. My arthritis (just a bit in one finger and one toe) doesn’t bother me too much, but I want to keep it that way. As far as the blue light and sleep… after I suffered from a concussion a year ago, the OT showed me ways to reduce the blue light on my cell phone as well as my computer. And I keep the light low(er) on my Kindle, but to be safe, when I read in bed, I go to a “paper” book.
    Nonetheless, sleep still ain’t what it used to be! ;-0

    Like

    • acflory

      Commiserations. I promise the cherries will help but you’ll have to eat them every day as the effect seems to be cumulative. A day or two without won’t change things, but more than that and you’ll start to get twinges again.
      I generally spend between 1.5 and 2 hours pottering around after I shut the pc off and don’t check my phone at all [before bed], so the length of time you’re away from the blue light may play a part. That’s something I’ll have to research.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Sue Chappin

    This is something I’ve not tried so I’ll investigate the supermarkets.
    I did use pineapples including the core if it was tender (instead of buying the expensive bromelain from the health food shop) when I had a ruptured disc and the anti inflammatories made me even more depressed and it worked well for inflamation. It made sense, the active ingredient + vitC and roughage.
    Trouble is I ate so much pineapple that I can’t bear the thought of it now. so I’ll have a look at cherries now I have something else to cause me grief.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Also I learned to turn the router off at 9pm and I always read real books. Worked a treat. I also am a night owl who usually sleeps 8hrs so the disruption or repeatedly waking is a pain in another way.

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    • acflory

      Hi Sue. I haven’t heard of the pineapple anti-inflammatory. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for myself. If you get sick of the cherries, purple carrots – the ones that are purple all the way through not just the skin – contain the same anti-inflammatory properties. Just be careful as the juice of both carrots and cherries can stain your clothing. Good wishes from Downunder!

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      • Sue Chappin

        The pineapple is an age old medicine. They like to say you don’t get the effect from the flesh but you do. Think that is a publicity stunt.
        In England, especially my rural area, cherries are a short season and purple carrots almost unheard of. Though I do have some cherries preserved in Masala. Do you think that would add to the effect ? Always willing to try lol

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        • acflory

          Mmm…cherries in Masala…I think you’ll forget the aches and pains even if they don’t go away! lol Btw the juice the sour cherries are cooked in is probably as important as the cherries themselves so don’t throw is out.

          Like

  • daleleelife101.blog

    We have a jar of those cherries in the cupboard, will try them with yoghurt. I think I bought them when you mentioned before… I can be slow on the uptake sometimes.

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  • annabellefranklinauthor

    Does the blue light thing include TV?

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    • acflory

      Um…I don’t actually know. I’ll see what I can find out.

      Like

    • acflory

      Okay, just did a quick check and the answer seems to be yes, maybe. I couldn’t find anything specific about tv’s, but when I searched for a comparison between tv screens and computer screens, the only difference seemed to be resolution for cost. That kind of makes sense as most modern tv’s are digital so you’d expect them to use much the same technology.
      Rule of thumb? Stop watching tv about 2 hours before you want to sleep. :/

      Like

  • anne54

    I am going to give the cherries a go. We have fruit and yoghurt every morning, so adding a few cherries will not be a problem.
    I try to read ‘real’ books every night before I go to sleep. It’s one of the three things that seem to help my erratic sleep patterns ~ reading, having had some exercise during the day, and having some time to myself to empty my mind of the day. I think it’s the regular eye movement that must be the key. However, the book has to be the right one. If I get too engrossed I find it hard to put down and so go to bed too late! I am sure you know the cry of “Just one more chapter”!

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Oh god yes! I’m guilty of that ‘Just one more chapter’ thing too. It’s not too bad at the moment because I’m re-reading books rather than reading new ones but… -sigh- Yes, maybe I’ll end up having to read the dictionary instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  • ecellenb

    Those dark cherries work so well! We used Montmorency cherries.

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    • acflory

      Yes! I’ve read about them as well. I think they’re all part of the sour cherry family? Another small tip, you can also get similar benefits from purple carrots [the ones that are dark purple all the way through].

      Like

  • Candy Korman

    I’ve been a poor sleeper since the day I was born. My mother said I was simply not the kind of baby that drops off quickly and sleeps through the nightโ€”ever. My sleep is always broken, but I also remember dreams more often than not, so I must drop into REM for the required time. I’m in good shape for a woman my age… I’m wondering if the onslaught of age-related ailments will make it worse? One thing I’m doing now is using an app that reads “bedtime stores.” Some are fairy tales or travel diaries, some are incredibly mind numbing in dullness (rules of cricket), but the readers drone softly and I fall asleep. Mind you, often I’m up and listening to a second story later in the night, but my broken hours are adding up with the aid of bedtime stories. Again, something from my childhood and not a bad thing for a fiction writer.

    Like

  • DawnGillDesigns

    I have a tip for you about the eyesight. As you can imagine, I often need to see quite small things quite clearly (hullo 0.2mm silver wire and 3mm transparent gemstone beads!) and I wasn beginning to struggle. I’ve worn specs for my astigmatism and short-sightedness for 35 years now, and this year bit the bullet and got an additional pair of prescription reading (ie Beading) specs. They are fab for most things, but still not quite enough for stone setting, sawing etc when fractions of a mm are key. So what did I, Little Miss Budget Conscious do? I visited the pouns store and picked up some +1.5 readers. I can double them up comfortably and they make a huge difference. Once I realised what a boon they were, I bought some for a fiver* from Superdrug (a budget, but trustworthy pharmacy chain) and they were even better. I look a bit weird in them but I really don’t care. I have some +3 ones too, for when I can’t be bothered to swap my regulars for my readers – or for taking to shows.
    Let me know if you give this a go, and if it works.
    *for comparison, a fiver was less than the neat gin I bought yesterday in The Nelson (quite a cheap pub) at my final pitstop ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  • tidalscribe

    I love the idea of the cherries – what is it about big toe joints? I guess they take a lot of strain over the years. Thanks for the sleep hints – a more useful blog than my Silly Saturday Sleep Secrets!

    Liked by 1 person

  • jenanita01

    Some great tips here, and I will definitely be trying the cherries!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Andy McKell

    I share your pain. But the ailments of aging are the price we pay for the enhanced wisdom and the vast stock of “fascinating” anecdotes we carry and share (to everyone’s delight). ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  • ChrisJamesAuthor

    I like the sound of those cherries. I will definitely try them… Just as soon as I run out of beer ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  • Sue Vincent

    I’ll always go for natural medicine where there is a known choice… and I will be trying the cherries…thanks for the pointer.

    I still read paper books in bed and don’t have a TV or other electronics in the bedroom… and can fall asleep in minutes. Which gets a bit frustrating when you are trying to read a good book ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  • Matthew Wright

    Cherries as an anti-inflammatory is interesting. I am in process of trying exactly the same thing myself, for similar reason. And I understand it does work. I often think that modern medicine throws the baby out with the bathwater (as it were) when it comes to understanding the benefits of things not made by Big Pharma. I guess it isn’t helped by the fact that most research funding for medications comes from drug companies that have a vested interest in proving that their own product works best (or, in the case of statins, finding a use for something they’d made).

    Incidentally, the glass jar of Morello cherries that I found in a supermarket here was Hungarian made, but I expect imported to New Zealand from Australia & likely the same brand you found. And it had a lid that was virtually impossible to budge. I am the official household stubborn jar opener, via a martial arts technique I was taught years ago for applying jolt-acceleration to things. The physics of the method is sound and it usually works. But not on these ones! Part of the reason was the mouth of the jar was quite wide, which reduced the grip area, but still…

    Liked by 2 people

    • acflory

      On my bad days I wonder how many ailments could be cured for next to nothing if we weren’t conditioned to look down on ‘old wives cures’ and up at anything made with chemicals. -grump-
      By the way, those glass jars? You need an a bottle or can opener with a kind of hooked bit underneath. Hook under the edge of the lid and lever up, just until you hear the ‘pop’ of the vacuum seal breaking. After that it’s easy. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

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