Not getting a healthy night’s sleep can be incredibly frustrating for any individual. Insomnia can happen to all of us at any time during our lives, but when it affects older adults, it can be quite a nuisance. For older adults, it can be caused by a variety of factors. Here we are going to talk about insomnia in seniors, and what you can do to address it.
What Causes Insomnia in Seniors?
Most people believe that older adults need less sleep than their younger counterparts, but they are wrong. The elderly actually need much more sleep than young adults. In order to feel fully rested, people over the age of 60 need seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Seniors would love to have this amount of sleep, but due to various reasons, they are not always able to fulfill their needs. Insomnia in seniors has many causes, and here we are going to discuss them.
One of the primary reasons is the circadian rhythm, which changes as people age. This rhythm means that you start going to bed earlier than usual, but also wake up earlier than you are used to.
Other reasons include various health conditions that can affect elderly adults’ sleep. They are often unable to fall asleep or stay asleep. The most common conditions that affect sleep patterns are respiratory problems and intestinal issues. Also medications that contain steroids can cause insomnia, as they keep patients awake during the night.
According to some recent studies, another condition that bodes ill with insomnia is depression. At the moment, the correlation between the two is not understood to the full extent. So doctors need to be sure that a patient is not suffering from depression before they start treating for insomnia.
Treatment of Insomnia in Seniors
As is usually the case with this type of condition, there are treatments available that can make older adults feel better when they go to bed. First, the habits of your loved one must change. Follow the instructions below in order to give seniors the best chance of healthy sleep.
- Don’t take in fluids at least 3 hours before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine late in the day, or even completely.
- Don’t eat a significant amount of food before going to sleep.
- Try to sleep in complete darkness without any type of light.
- Shut out outside noise as much as possible.
- Be active during the day in order to have less energy at night.
Consult a Doctor
If you notice that these measures do not help your older adult, the best route to take would be to consult their doctor. A doctor will be able to advise you on other treatments that include relaxation training, stimulus control, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Relaxation training teaches seniors how to tense and relax the muscles in the body. By doing this, it might be possible for elderly adults to sleep better. Some other techniques include meditation and mindfulness.
Stimulus control improves your relationship with your bedroom. This means that the bedroom needs to be used only for sleeping or sexual activities. This treatment also includes having a set bedtime and waking schedule.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on setting rising and sleeping times. It also recommends avoiding naps during the day.
If none of the above helps, insomnia in seniors can be handled through medications. But before taking medications that will help you with sleep, it is essential to consult your doctor.
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