Uncategorized | March 15, 2022
Solving Sleep Problems in Seniors | It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. Older adults need the same amount of sleep as younger adults: 7 to 9 hours each night.
Changes in sleep patterns, or what specialists call “sleep architecture”, can occur as we age, and this may contribute to sleep problems. There are two kinds of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. We dream mostly during REM sleep and have the deepest sleep during non-REM sleep. The sleep cycle is repeated several times during the night, and although total sleep time tends to remain constant, older people can spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep.
44% of older persons experience one or more of the nighttime symptoms of insomnia
at least a few nights per week.
Other factors affecting sleep are the circadian rhythms that coordinate the timing of our bodily functions, including sleep ─ and seniors tend to become sleepier in the early evening and wake earlier in the morning, as compared to younger adults. This pattern is called “advanced sleep phase syndrome”.
A number of things can cause sleep problems. By the time an adult is over 65 years old, his or her sleep-wake cycle may not work as well as it did when he or she was younger. As we age, the body makes less growth hormone and melatonin, the chemicals and hormones that help us sleep well. Some lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks, can cause sleep problems, as can illness, pain, or medications.
No matter the reason, without a good night’s sleep, the next day, a senior can be tired and irritable, unable to perform tasks, have memory problems or be forgetful, feel depressed, and be at risk for more falls or accidents. Here are some preventative tips that you can give to your loved one.
Talk with your doctor: Ask your doctor for help if pain or other health problems are keeping you awake. Ask if any medicines could be keeping you awake at night. Medicines that can disrupt sleep include antidepressants, beta-blockers, and cardiovascular drugs.
Limit the use of sleep aids and sleeping pills. Many sleep aids have side effects and are not for long-term use; sleeping pills don’t address the causes of insomnia and can make it worse in the long run.
During the day:
Comfort Keepers® Can Help
Comfort Keepers can help. Our caregivers can provide wellness support, remind clients to take medication, provide transportation to scheduled appointments, and support physician-prescribed exercise regimens and diets. As part of an individualized care plan, caregivers can let a senior’s care team know if there are changes in behavior or physical characteristics. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age or acuity.
To learn more about our in-home care services, contact your the Comfort Keepers Edmonton location today.
National Institute on Aging (NIH). “A Good Night’s Sleep”. Web. 2015
FamilyDoctor.org. “Sleep Changes in Older Adults”. Web. 2012.
HealthGuide.org. “How to Sleep Well as You Age”. Web. 2016.
National Sleep Foundation. “Aging and Sleep”. Web. 2016.