Merrill Gardens at Barkley Place

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Jul 18, 2023


Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties , Florida - Southwest

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We all understand the importance of a good night’s rest. While we’re all a little different in our sleep patterns, “normal” sleep is typically considered to be 7–9 hours of continuous sleep a night. 

Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to increase the quality and ease of sleep. Here are six simple steps to help you through the night.

Good light, bad light

Getting out and enjoying the natural light helps your body understand when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep. For instance spending time outdoors is known to help you relax. This is the “good” kind of light. The “bad” kind of light comes from things like alarm clocks and other artificial sources in your bedroom that can disrupt your sleeping patterns. Even a small dot of light can disrupt your sleep or ability to fall asleep. A visible clock can lead to clock-watching, which can increase anxiety as you watch the minutes (or even hours) tick by. 

Try a mocktail instead

Contrary to what we might think, alcohol does not help us sleep. Because while it can make you temporarily drowsy, it makes it much more difficult for your body to stay asleep. This leads to a poor and unsatisfying slumber that leaves you tired and groggy when you get up, which can lead to vicious nap cycles and late nights. It’s also a good practice to avoid eating large meals before bed or drinking too much water — as well as caffeine and sugar — as these can keep you up or running to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Routine and consistency

One of the best ways to enhance your sleep is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine. A regular routine and sleep time helps you prepare for sleep and signal to your body that it’s time to sleep. This can help you fall asleep faster and easier. Sleep routines can include reading, music, a weighted blanket, meditation, and more. Some people find that taking a warm bath also helps them get ready for sleep. 

Sleep only zone

If at all possible, try to keep your bedroom reserved for sleeping. The more you make your bed exclusively a place for sleeping, the more your body will associate your bed with sleep and bedtime practices. This ties in with avoiding screens and watching TV in bed. Your bed should be a sanctuary of sleep, and it’s difficult to maintain that, and for your body to understand that, if you do other things in that space. So avoid those screens, and definitely avoid working in bed. 

Turn off the screens an hour before bed

Speaking of lights, this includes screens of all kinds, whether that’s your phone, tablet, laptop, or television. These unnatural light sources not only keep you up via disruptive light, but artificial light has also been known to lower melatonin, which is the naturally-occurring hormone that helps you sleep. 

If you need time to decompress before bedtime, or just a little something to take your mind off the day, try reading a book or listening to some soothing music. You may also want to consider sleep or meditation apps that offer soothing sounds to fall asleep to (just make sure your screen is off while you’re listening). 


Regular exercise at similar times each day is a great way to prepare your body for sleep. Not only does this reduce stress and anxiety, it also helps wear out your body and get you tired enough for sleep. Aerobic exercise is especially helpful in enhancing your sleep (walking, swimming, and dancing are some great options).

As with trying to create any kind of good habit, take it step-by-step and don’t be too hard on yourself. A good routine takes time and practice to cement, but a healthy sleep regimen will give you more energy throughout the day and help keep your mind and body healthy.


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Dont ignore snoring!

nsufficient or low-quality sleep may be more than an annoyance. It can be a major health concern meriting a visit to your general practitioner or a sleep specialist. Difficulty sleeping that impairs activities of daily living and lasts greater than three months meets the clinical definition of insomnia. One of the more prevalent causes of insomnia is obstructive sleep apnea, which is a major reason for snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) means an obstructive episode resulted in respiratory effort and at least a 30% decrease in airflow for 10 seconds or greater resulting in oxygen desaturation in the blood of 4% of greater.The problems from OSA are associated with a host of negative health, social, and occupational consequences, some of which include:Daytime sleepinessReduced work productivityReduced concentrationSocial isolation and lonelinessRisk factor for DementiaExercise has long been associated with better sleep. [1] Despite surprisingly little experimental research involving patients with significant sleep disturbance or sleep disorders, the available evidence suggests that exercise holds promise as a nonpharmacologic therapy for adults with poor or disordered sleep. [2]Exercise seems to improve sleep quality and sleep continuity. Even in the case of OSA, exercise can reduce the symptoms. If chronic problems with sleep are an issue, please consider getting evaluated. Remember that exercise is good medicine.[1] Youngstedt SD, Kline CE. Epidemiology of exercise and sleep. Sleep Biol Rhythms. 2006; 4:215221.[2] Buman MP, King AC. Exercise as a treatment to enhance sleep. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2010; 4:500514.  

Sleep Your Way to Better Health

SPRING CLEAN YOUR SLEEP ROUTINEA good nights sleep sure seems to put a little pep in our step. But can you really sleep your way to better health? Benjamin Franklin said, Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, and more recently Beyonce was quoted in an article saying, Having peace, happiness, and healthiness is my definition of beauty. And you cant have any of that without sleep.  Sleep is as important for health as nutrition and exercise, explains Millennium Physician Group Sleep Specialist Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, MD. It really is one of the three pillars of health, and you have to make sure that you get enough. It helps with healing of our body and our muscles and has been shown to be important for metabolism. Sleep has multiple benefits, and we all need to make sure we prioritize sleep. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports if not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you may be at increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, poor mental health, and even early death. If you dont get enough sleep night after night, it can lead to all sorts of physical effects. But even a few missed nights of sleep can take a real physical toll on your body. I dont really worry about an occasional bad night. What I worry about is consistently not getting enough, because that can affect our health, Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg explains. Theres a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes if you dont get enough sleep. There are also problems with being sleepy during the day, which then increases your risk of accidents in terms of car crashes and work-related accidents. Not getting enough sleep can affect your overall health, your mood, and your stress levels. And racking up those sleepless nights can also take a real toll on your personal relationships.  We know that people who dont get enough sleep tend to be less empathetic, Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg reveals. So, in any relationship, either at work or at home, sleep deprived people tend to be grumpier and more likely to be short tempered, which then affects  all their interpersonal interactions. SPRING CLEAN YOUR SLEEP ROUTINETheres a misconception that people need less sleep as they get older. For folks 65 or so, they still need seven hours of sleep. The problem that we see is that they tend to have more medical issues, and it becomes a little bit more difficult for folks over the age of 65 to make sure that theyre prioritizing sleep.  Theres a whole host of things that can affect your sleep, specifically as you age: Certain medicationsNew and different schedules after retirementGoing to sleep much earlier than you used to, and waking up much earlierTaking naps during the afternoonChanges in your bladder functioning/overnight bathroom scheduleSleep apneaThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports sleep problems are also a common symptom of depression, and you should see your healthcare provider to find out whether depression or another underlying health condition is affecting your sleep. The NIH goes on to list the following common sleep problems or disorders are common in older adults and should be addressed by your healthcare provider: InsomniaRestless legs syndromeNarcolepsy or hypersomniaSleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops for a time during sleep, can cause severe problems.LOSING THAT HOUR OF SLEEP: DAYLIGHT SAVING TIMEMany agencies, including the Sleep Research Society agree research shows that daylight saving time causes acute sleep loss and chronic circadian misalignment. This means that by increasing light exposure in the evening, daylight saving time can cause a delay in the bodys production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, resulting in a later bedtime and a shorter sleep duration. Daylight saving time has a negative impact on our health, agrees Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg. The problem is that extra hour of light in the evening delays our sleep. That makes it more difficult to fall asleep and then leads to chronic sleep loss. HOW TO BECOME A CHAMPION NAPPERYou might be looking to naps as a way to bank some Zs. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, a third of U.S. adults nap on any given day. And believe it or not, you could be doing it wrong. There are keys to make the most of your next nap. Keep the naps short. Short meaning between 20 and 40 minutes at the most, advises Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg. I often recommend that you take a nap earlier in the day, so somewhere between 1:00 and 2:30 in the afternoon. There is some good data that shows if you are taking the nap to increase performance, drinking a little caffeine before you take your nap makes a big difference and can be very effective so that you can function for the rest of the day. In fact, caffeine followed by a brief nap has been shown to improve alertness and mental acuity in several studies. One study, specifically of night shift workers, showed that a combination of napping plus caffeine was the most effective way to improve alertness and performance tests evaluating reaction time, sustained attention, verbal fluency, and other cognitive skills. TIP THE SLEEP SCALES IN YOUR FAVORThere are some simple steps you can take to improve your sleep:Limit exposure to electronic devicesMake your bedroom a comfortable sleep environmentAvoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine close to bedtimeExercise regularlyManage stressAvoid large means before bedtimeAnd whether its daylight saving time or a bout of jet lag, Dr. Abassi-Feinberg offers up a few bonus tips to get back on a healthy sleep schedule.  Getting up in the morning at the same time is probably the best thing that you can do for your sleep. And getting outside into the sunshine is the second-best thing you can do to reset your biological clock. Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg adds that you should consider seeking help from your healthcare provider if you have persistent sleep problems. Sweet dreams! 

8 Ways To Deal With Insomnia

Insomnia is a commonly encountered clinical problem that relates to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. This sleeping disorder can lead to dissatisfaction, fatigue, low energy, mood disturbances, and decreased performance.Insomnia may be categorized based on its duration. Acute insomnia, is brief and often happens when stressful situations arise. Chronic insomnia occurs multiple times throughout a week and the causes can vary from environment, clinical disorders, and possible medications. Following certain routines of good sleep hygiene can restore chronically disrupted sleep patterns and fight insomnia. Practice these eight tips and record your results.Maintain a regular sleeping and waking schedule.Avoid afternoon snoozes.Work out earlier in the morning and not at night.Refrain from drinking alcohol or caffeine at night.Avoid heavy or spicy meals before you go to sleep.Make time for relaxing before bed.Assess your bedroom settings to optimize the environment for sleep.Speak with medical provider to determine if certain medications are the cause.The guarantee of effective treatment for insomnia is knowing the symptoms of a sleep problem, careful evaluation of factors underlying the insomnia, development of a specific diagnosis, and then implementation of a treatment process that may involve medication or other treatments. Talk to your physician if you struggle with insomnia and together you can find a solution that will help you sleep well.A version of this post was previously published on the Shell Point Health & Wellness Blog in 2012.

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Merrill Gardens at Barkley Place

Independent Living 36 Barkley Cir, Fort Myers, Florida, 33907

Merrill Gardens at Barkley Place offers a vibrant senior living community in Fort Myers, Florida, designed to provide residents with a fulfilling lifestyle. With a variety of floor plans, including studios, one, and two bedrooms, our community caters to independent living and assisted living needs.Our community features beautifully landscaped grounds, sun porches, balconies, and a range of amenities such as a fitness center, library, pool, and social spaces. Residents can enjoy a worry-free lifestyle with services like home maintenance, chef-prepared meals, and 24-hour staffing.At Merrill Gardens at Barkley Place, we prioritize an active lifestyle and offer a range of activities tailored to residents' interests. Whether it's exploring walking trails, engaging in social events, or pursuing hobbies, there's always something exciting to do.Our compassionate staff is dedicated to providing personalized care and ensuring residents feel at home. With over 20 years of serving the Fort Myers area, we have established ourselves as a trusted choice for senior living. Contact us today to schedule a tour and experience the Merrill Gardens difference.