In old age, you may notice that you wake up earlier or throughout the night. You may notice that you have fewer hours to close your eyes or that you oversleep during the day.
Rest assured, the following article will provide you with things you can do to get the sleep you want in old age.
What Are Sleep Problems Common In Older Adults?
Having trouble sleeping is a common issue among the elderly. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 13% of men over 65 and 36% of women over the same age range say it takes them at least 30 minutes each night to fall asleep. (Source: Companions Of Seniors)
Even so, that’s only a portion of the issue. When the elderly do fall asleep, they wake up more frequently and sleep less soundly than they did before.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects older adults. It occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep.
This can cause loud snoring, gasping, or choking sounds. Sleep apnea can also lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common type. It occurs when the throat muscles relax and block the airway.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to health problems. It’s important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know has sleep apnea.
Although narcolepsy is considered a childhood disorder, older adults can also be affected. Narcolepsy in older adults often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia.
Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder that can occur in people of any age. However, it is more common in children and young adults.
Sleepwalking usually happens during the deep sleep stage, when people are less likely to be awakened by their surroundings.
While sleepwalking, people may walk around and perform complex activities, such as cooking or driving. They may also have no memory of these activities when they wake up.
Sleepwalking can be dangerous because people may not be aware of their surroundings and could hurt themselves.
If you think you or someone you know may be sleepwalking, it’s important to talk to a doctor. There are treatments available that can help people manage their sleep disorders and reduce the risk of injury.
Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems in older adults, affecting up to 30% of people over the age of 60. Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and can lead to daytime fatigue and impaired concentration.
There are many possible causes of insomnia in older adults, including medications, medical conditions, stress, and changes in sleep patterns due to retirement or other lifestyle changes. However, one of the most common causes of insomnia in older adults is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep. It is often accompanied by snoring. Sleep apnea can lead to daytime fatigue, as well as an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. RLS is often accompanied by tingling, burning, or itching sensations in the legs. RLS can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to daytime fatigue.
RLS is thought to be caused by an imbalance of the brain’s chemical dopamine. There is no cure for RLS, but treatments can help relieve symptoms. These include medications, lifestyle changes, and massages.
Sleepwalking is a condition that causes people to walk or do other activities while they are asleep. Sleepwalking is most common in children, but can also occur in adults.
It is usually harmless, but can sometimes be dangerous if the sleepwalker does not wake up when called or if they walk into a dangerous area.
7 Causes Of Sleep Problems In Older Adults
There are many potential causes of sleep problems in older adults. Some of the most common include:
- Poor Sleep Hygiene: This refers to habits that can interfere with sleep, such as watching television or working on the computer in bed.
- Medications: Many medications can cause or worsen sleep problems, including those for high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.
- Chronic medical conditions: Conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease can make it difficult to sleep.
- Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea are common in older adults.
- Stress: Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Environmental factors: Noise, light, and temperature can all affect sleep.
- Poor nutrition: Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can help promote good sleep.
How To Sleep Problems In Older Adults
Establish A Sleep Schedule
It’s important to establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This will help your body get the rest it needs and function at its best.
A regular sleep schedule is important for your health and well-being. It can help sleep better and improve your mood, increase your energy levels, and improve your overall health.
Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine
There’s nothing worse than lying in bed wide awake when you’re exhausted. If you’re struggling to fall asleep, it might be time to create a bedtime routine.
Just like a morning routine can help start your day off on the right foot, a bedtime routine can help you wind down so you can fall asleep more easily.
To create a relaxing bedtime routine, start by picking a bedtime that you can stick to consistently. Then, start winding down about an hour before your chosen bedtime.
During this hour, avoid using electronics, as the blue light can interfere with your body’s natural sleep aid rhythm. Instead, try reading a book or taking a relaxing bath and more sleep quality.
Once it’s time for bed, turn off all the lights in your room and only use a nightlight if necessary. Then, get into bed and spend a few minutes practicing some relaxation techniques. You can try deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
After you’ve relaxed for a few minutes, it’s time to sleep. If you find yourself still awake after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something else relaxing until you’re sleepy again. Avoid watching television or working on your computer, as these activities can make it harder to fall asleep.
Keep A Comfortable Environment
It’s important to make sure your room is dark when you’re trying to sleep better. You can do this by using blackout curtains or an eye mask. And to create a calm atmosphere, you can use relaxing scents like lavender or chamomile.
Limit Exposure To Bright Light
It’s important to limit your exposure to bright light in the evening hours because it can interfere with your sleep.
When you’re trying to sleep, your body is releasing a hormone called melatonin that makes you feel sleepy. But exposure to bright light can trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
This will help you to fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly. Relaxation techniques can include things like reading, taking a bath, or doing some light stretching. Experiment to find what works best for you.
The Transformation After Solving Sleep Problems In Older Adults
The results of the study showed that after solving sleep problems in older adults, there was a significant transformation in their overall health and well-being.
They reported feeling more energetic, happier, and less stressed. Their physical health also improved, with a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in overall fitness levels.
In conclusion, it is essential that you tend to your physical health, but it is of equal significance that you take care of your mental and emotional well-being. Your ability to get quality rest has a direct bearing on the number of years you will live and their overall quality.
Now is the time to take advantage of your excellent health and happiness, and to start reaping the benefits of your long life by sleeping soundly and undisturbed during the night.