As people reach their elder years they tend to sleep less. Whether because of medical conditions that wake them repeatedly overnight or just changes in their biorhythms, it becomes more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. As a leader in elder care, we know that failing to achieve adequate restful sleep can result in a number of daytime issues including confusion, excessive sleepiness, difficulty focusing on important tasks like driving and an increased risk of falls.
What Keeps Elders Awake?
In addition to health issues and natural cycle changes, there are other reasons that seniors sleep poorly, including:
- Stress. Concerns about things like health, finances and relationships can make it difficult to sleep.
- Alcohol, caffeine or nicotine use. While alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it actually has a negative impact on your ability to get restful sleep. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Prescription medications. Drugs used to treat a medical condition may produce or exacerbate insomnia.
- Restless legs syndrome. This condition, also called Willis-Ekbom Disease, causes unpleasant sensations in the legs that can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Sleep apnea. Many things can cause sleep apnea, which produces brief interruptions in normal breathing while sleeping that cause a person to wake repeatedly.
Tips for Better Sleep
Here are some strategies for getting a better night’s sleep:
- Sleep in a room that is comfortably cool and dark.
- Get more exercise during the day, preferably before dinner time, as late-day exercise may make it harder to fall asleep.
- Increase your exposure to natural light during the day (while being sure to use sunscreen).
- Decrease or eliminate the use of alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. If you continue to consume them, do so earlier in the day.
- Keep your bedtime and morning waking time consistent.
- Use relaxation techniques like meditation and guided imagery before going to bed.
- Take action to address any issues that are causing you stress. Even if they can’t be completely resolved, making progress toward a solution can be helpful.
- Talk to your doctor about your medications if you believe they may be compromising your sleep.
- Get treatment for sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or any other conditions you believe may be hindering your sleep.
Elder Care that Considers the Whole Person
We take a holistic approach to elder care at Green House Homes, and know that sleep is a key ingredient for health, happiness and well-being. Consequently, we do all we can to create an environment in our real-home setting that is interesting and stimulating during the day, but calm and restful at night.
July/10/2018 | News