Many Americans spend years preparing for retirement. However, in some cases, the changes associated with retirement can undermine sleep, leading to difficulties with insomnia.
Most people spend the majority of their working lives on a relatively consistent schedule. They awaken at the same time every morning, prompted by an alarm, which helps to regulate their circadian rhythm. This helps ensure that they can maintain a relatively regular sleep pattern, waking up refreshed in the morning and growing tired at nighttime around the same time each day, and making them less susceptible to insomnia.
Retirement can change everything. Wiping away a regimented routine of a lifetime of work, retirement gives you the opportunity to wake up whenever, and however, you please. While sleeping in or simply lying in bed in the morning may be appealing, it can also affect the circadian clock that regulates when you feel awake or tired. This can have major effects on your ability to sleep at night.
This is exactly what Rick Fortier, from Pennsylvania faced not long after he retired. After 33 years of maintaining a regular sleep schedule and with no set sleep routine in retirement, he soon started to experience insomnia. His lack of sleep affected his life in ways that reached far beyond the pillow. He found himself being less social and having to push himself to get out and exercise, an activity he’d always enjoyed.
Rick knew he had a problem. He sought help: first through his primary care physician and then a sleep specialist, who educated him on the importance of maintaining a consistent wake up time. Wake up time is the single most important cue for “setting” your circadian clock.
For Rick, the drive to stay awake remained high and he experienced this as racing thoughts or trouble getting his body to settle down. He tried prescription sleeping pills, but he said, “I did not like the way they made me feel the next day.” In search of a drug-free option, he found Ebb Insomnia Therapy—a wearable insomnia therapy that cools the forehead, helps quiet the racing mind, and reduces the time it takes to both fall asleep and enter deeper, restorative sleep. He knew right away that he wanted to try it, and with Ebb Insomnia Therapy, Rick was able to find the sleep that he had been missing for years. After using Ebb for 6 months, he says,
“Ebb has really helped me to get to sleep quickly, get a better quality of sleep, and feel refreshed in the morning. Now I have the energy to really enjoy my retirement. It was a very good investment in my health.”
To get healthy sleep, always practice good sleep hygiene. But if your sleep problem persists, it is important to talk with your physician or sleep specialist about the right treatment plan is important.