Old people often complain that they aren’t able to sleep well at night. Though experts agree that normal aging changes the way you sleep as elderly people feel sleepy early in evenings, if an older person is complaining of too much lack of sleep you should be cautious. This is a reason to worry because the effects of sleep deprivation on the body are quite harmful and have the potential to ruin the overall health of a person. If you know of an elderly person or you are an elderly person then you should consider taking assistance of reliable sleep aids like SleepSmart that work flawlessly without harming your physical or mental health.
It is also advised that you learn about top 5 causes of sleep problems in aging mentioned right here.
- Medical Conditions
One of the most common reasons older adults tend to sleep less is that they have an underlying medical condition like heart or lung conditions, osteoarthritis, urination issues, Gastroesophageal reflux disease, anxiety depression, or Alzheimer’s among others. These medical conditions often force a person to wake up at night due to pain or discomfort and ruins the good sleep. Sometimes, the side effects of medications taken to cure these conditions often keep the elderly up at night.
- Restless Leg Syndrome
When an older adult has this syndrome, the person is unable to get a sound sleep as he or she feels itching, restlessness, and crawling sensations when he or she is trying to fall asleep. Though this is not painful, it is highly uncomfortable. It runs in the families and often impacts women and people with low iron levels.
- Breathing Disorders
Sleep-related breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea make it difficult for people to fall asleep or enjoy sound sleep for long. There are many treatment options available to cure this condition and improve the sleep patterns of a patient. The treatment option you need will be determined after you undergo a sleep test at home or in a lab.
Another reason that doesn’t let older adults sleep is PLMS or Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep in which a person moves his or her lower limbs erratically while asleep. This condition is not treated easily and is more common than you think. It is also often a cause of discord between sleeping partners. This condition is mentioned here because it is associated with problems like sleep apnea or restless legs.
Insomnia means that a person has trouble sleeping at night (even when the atmosphere is perfect like all is quiet and the person is in bed) and his or her daytime life is badly impacted by lack of sleep. Insomnia is quite common, and the solution is not to depend on substances that help with sleep. Instead, you should try to avoid it as much as possible. Read more about it here.
Proven Ways to Treat Insomnia in Older Adults
Ø Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Better known as CBT-I, this therapy helps a person to get rid of negative thought patterns that are often responsible for insomnia. It also includes promoting relaxation techniques, regular sleep habits, and other behavioral techniques that might help in improving sleep. Research has proven that people who have insomnia, as well as any other medical or psychiatric conditions, also benefit from CBT-I. Though Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be conducted via online programs and apps, it is a fact that it’s more effective when it’s done personally.
Older adults with a variety of sleep disturbances also benefit from mindful meditation. If you intend to try this method, then it is suggested that you enroll in a weekly course that includes 2 hour and 6 sessions at the least. Finding such courses is not difficult as you can find them locally quite easily. Several senior centers also offer such courses. In case a senior can’t commute, apps like Headspace are there that help you to practice mindfulness by using your smartphone only and let you sleep soundly for as long as possible.
Ø Meal Moderation
You should avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks during the day if you want to sleep soundly at night. Also, try to avoid high carb food options about two hours before the bed as this habit may adversely affect your sleep. Avoid drinking fluids in the second half of the day because the more water you drink in the second half, the more would be your urge to urinate during the night. In case you want to overhaul your diet to make your sleep pattern right, you better talk to a diet or sleep expert to lend you a hand.
Do you know of any other proven ways to treat insomnia that worked for seniors? If so, please share them in the comments below and help in changing someone’s life for the better.