A growing number of seniors today face the difficulty of sleep disorders,
commonly referred to as insomnia. Up to 30% of the elderly experience
infrequent sleep patterns, apnea (the stoppage of breath), and waking up
too early. Insomnia results in depression, constant fatigue, and even a
decline in health in some people. The causes of sleep disorder are many
and varied, including chronic pain and previous illness, high doses of
medication, lifestyle changes, and anxiety and depression. All can play a
part in triggering sleep loss and unless changed can damage your loved
ones sleep cycle permanently. Caregivers usually must face a change in
their own life when dealing with insomnia, and while it can be controlled,
it often takes time. If your loved one has already begun sleeping less and
waking up at odd hours, you may need to seek assistance from health care
professionals who can assist you in the best treatment. Consider the
Check their medication to see if the side effects
include difficulty falling asleep. You can discuss this with their
doctor. Often it can be as simple as discontinuing one medication for
another that does not have the same effect.
Restrict eating and drinking before they go to
bed, so they do not wake up needlessly throughout the night to use the
Make sure they get up around the same time every
day so they can set a pattern to follow.
Make sure they do not drink colas or coffees that
have caffeine and can keep them up at night.
Try to limit smoking to a minimum, as the effects
can hamper breathing at nighttime in bed.
Take them for walks and regular exercise outings.
Instead of watching television, if they are able,
you may advise them to read a book or newspaper to relax their mind.
Make sure their phone is off and their room is as
dark to provide no distraction to sleep.
Remain calm and supportive if they struggle with
getting up at night, and try to keep them composed.
Reduce stress levels as much as possible before
they go to bed so they can have a clear mind and little to no anxiety.
Be willing to work with them and encourage them
to try other methods to correct their sleeping problems.
Resist the temptation to use over the counter
sleeping aids that are intended only for short-term sleeping problems
and if used for any length of time, the body will build a resistance
to them, causing further problems.
to our weekly e-newsletter