We ask people about how they keep active and well, whether they have dementia or not. This issue, we hear about improving rest and sleep.
Grannie G on Talking Point, 79 in Kent
I try to get some fresh air and exercise during the day. I don’t have any coffee later than lunchtime. I fall asleep to the radio set on a timer so it switches off after 45 minutes. Either Classic FM or local radio.
If I don’t sleep well at night I tend to nap during the day, and this leads to a bad practice which is difficult to break.
If I’m awake in the early hours I feel more isolated, the only one in the world who is awake. I know this is not true but it does have that effect. I feel much happier psychologically if I get an undisturbed night’s sleep even if it’s only six hours, and do feel more energetic during the day.
dbrilyant on Talking Point, 75 with Alzheimer’s in Somerset
I am five years from diagnosis and am sleeping ever more in the day. Coping with life takes longer and is much more tiring than it used to be. I try to sleep, eat and go to the loo by the clock.
I am very physically active, so get sleepy. If I wake before 3.30am I take melatonin and if I wake after that time I take a very mild sedative to give me a little extra sleep.
I avoid getting over-tired. By lunchtime I am ready to drop so I go to bed and set an alarm for an hour. This enables me to cope with the rest of the day.
When I switch out the light, I try to remember (and thank God for) three good things that have happened in the day, then I count my breaths until I fall asleep.
Ray Dernie, 79 in Nottinghamshire
I go to bed at approximately the same time each day and have six to eight hours sleep. I have always done this, no special arrangements. I live alone and have a comfortable bed.
Chyanne Hooks, 24 in Essex
I have set bedtime and wake-up times, with a wind-down/ wake-up routine. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome when I was 17. More recently, my diagnosis was changed to coeliac diseases, with an underactive thyroid.
I sometimes have to take a nap during the day for 45–90 mins. I alternate between active days and rest days. I know if I don’t stick to my routines, my energy levels will suffer.
I am a lot more aware of the way I feel and have learnt to accept that I need to rest more than others in order to be able to function.
Jo Cooling, 52 in Wiltshire
I stop eating at least two hours before going to bed, preferably more. I’ve cut out almost all alcohol, only have about one drink a week, and no caffeine at all. Less high-sugar foods and certainly not after mid-afternoon. I sleep with socks on and take HRT.
I was sleeping less well as I got older and understanding more how important sleep is to your health. Sleeping well means I’m more alert and generally feeling good.
Your age and genes affect your risk of developing dementia, but you can’t change them.
Things you can change include keeping your mind and body active, enjoying healthier food, not smoking, drinking less alcohol, staying in touch with people, and dealing with any health problems.
If you already have dementia, the same things can help you to stay healthy and well.
NHS Live Well has health and wellbeing advice for everyone.
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