Sam Bauman: Getting the right amount of sleep; and a fine book



Here’s more on getting the right amount of sleep. Start with a sleep friendly room — no light or noise, comfortable bed. Maybe a warm shower before bed helps, and a relaxed mind is good. Don’t think about problems or disturbing matters.

Be regular about bed times and you reinforce your body’s regular sleep schedule. Try to find a time slot that allows you to relax. An extra hour on weekends isn’t a problem, but don’t use it as an excuse to vary your schedule.

Try to shed worries and problems on the way to bed.

Try going to bed only when you are sleepy, and if after gong to bed for 15 or 20 minutes you are still awake, get up and do something relaxing --- read a good book in dim light or just find a comfy chair.

How much sleep does the average person need? Eight hours is the old standard but not for everybody. Infants and toddlers need nine to 10 hours plus naps. School-age children can get by with nine to 11 hours a night. Most adults need seven to eight hours.

Seniors need about as much as sleep as younger adults. But older adults sleep lightly and for shorter times.

Some of us need less sleep — somewhere between 1 and 5 percent get by with six hours of sleep; this tends to run in families, just as longer sleepers.

Most importantly in deciding how much sleep you need is if you feel rested during the day. Drowsy, or loss on concentration in low stimulus situations such as long drives or doing desk work would suggest you’re not getting enough sleep.

One way to improve sleep habits is regressive muscle relaxation. This is good after a long, difficult day. Focus on your muscle groups so that you can feel the difference between muscle tension and relaxation. Begin by tensing the muscle of your toes and working up your body to your neck

If you are looking for a nonprescription option, for temporary help, try Melatonin. This drug helps control your natural sleep and wake-up cycle. This drug may help in reducing the time that it takes to go to sleep. Valerian as a supplement may reduce the time it takes to go to sleeping promote better sleep.

Fine book for seniors

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand is a biography that seniors can not only enjoy but learn from. It’s a very detailed story of World War II survivor Louis Zamperini, who as a boy grew to become a long-distance running star. With many triumphs on the oval track, he was close to the four-minute mile when World War II broke out.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and wound up as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator in the Pacific. He continued to run. That ended on a rescue mission when his B-24 went down far away from shipping lanes.

Louis and two fellow crew members, Phil and Mac, survived on two small rafts with only some chocolate bars for food and no water. The first night out Mac ate all the chocolate while the others slept. No one berated him to his taking all the rations.

From there it was survive as best they could, eating birds that landed on Louis’ head and using the bird carcasses for fish bait and catching water from rain.

Eventually after 47 days afloat they were strafed by a Japanese small bomber and later picked up by a Japanese destroyer and taken to the first of many prison camps that would inhabit.

At the last camp for Louis Noaetsu Louis was attacked frequently by Japanese NCO “Bird” who controlled the camp. He beat Louis regularly and brutally, often near death. But Louis refused to cave in, winning more beatings.

The flight of B-29s over the camp which abutted Tokyo was cause for hope, although the POWs knew that orders existed that they were to be executed if Japan lost the war.

The war ended and Louis and Phil survived.

Back in the USA Louis was a hero, so much so that he became an alcoholic. He married and had a son but was a failure as a businessman and continued to drink. Then his wife made him to go to hear a new evangelist named Billy Graham.

The sermons stunned Louis and he became a Christian speaker.

He finally made it back to Japan to carry the American flag at the Olympics. He tried to find Bird to forgive him, but Bird died without meeting him.

You may have seen the previews of “Unbroken” which starred Jack O’Connell as Louis. Angelina Jolie became friends with Louis and prompted the filming of the movie as producer.

Hillenbrand’s fine book is masterfully detailed with much of what happened to Louis carefully dug out and well displayed. She never worships Zamperini but clearly admires him, as will any reader of the book or movie. It’s a tale to keep seniors walking out for one more day in the mountains.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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