Overcoming Sleep Difficulties From A to ZZZZs
If you’re a senior, sleep issues may leave you scratching your head more than resting it. That’s because, a Mayo Clinic study found, it can be increasingly difficult for seniors to get the sleep they need.
One reason, the National Institutes of Health finds, is that the elderly body produces less melatonin, the hormone promoting sleep. Another reason is that medications like beta blockers for heart problems or medicines for regulating high blood pressure and the thyroid cause insomnia. Other medications increase the need to urinate, making you wake and get up more throughout the night. Sleep researchers also attribute lack of zzzzs to sleep-related leg cramps.
All these factors affect sleep patterns, which interrupt restorative sleep – it takes most 75-year-olds 30 minutes or more to fall sleep (when it used to take 5-10 minutes). Seniors may also go to sleep earlier in the evening and rise earlier, and find six hours of sleep plenty instead of needing nine hours, like they used to.
When you wake and still feel tired, or get interrupted sleep, you can be sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation increases depression and mood problems, decreases attention and memory, and escalates risks for nighttime unsteadiness and falls.
Right at Home caregivers can help those needing at-home care establish better sleep patterns and get more restorative nighttime rest by:
- Changing the daily routine so there are naps of no more than 30 minutes occurring in early afternoon.
- Providing assistance with a light exercise program administered by the healthcare provider.
- Regulating environmental factors like temperature, light and sound where sleep occurs.
What helps aging loved ones in your families sleep more deeply and continuously at night?