Dealing with sleeping problems
Unfortunately, sleeping problems are common in old age; however, this should not be taken as a normal problem. Sleeping less is certainly not normal in old age. Sleep is important for our loved ones, as much as it is important for the younger generation. Statistics have revealed that more than 50 percent of the elderly population (aged 65 years and above) experience sleeping problems. Some of the common symptoms of sleep problems for our loved ones include excessive sleepiness during the daytime, waking up very early in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and inability to maintain sleep. Dealing with sleeping problems and being careful not to irritate the condition any further can cause strain on you, as the caregiver. Here are some great books to help you now.
Sleeping problems become more of a problems as we age
As our loved ones age advances, both men and women tend to sleep less and experience many kinds of sleeping disorders. Furthermore, many of our loved ones who do not get enough sleep, often fall prey to depression and are at a higher risk of suffering from cognitive decline than those who get proper sleep every night. Also, spend less time in deep sleep mode which aggravates the quality of sleep. While certain diseases and medical conditions, social changes, shifts in circadian rhythm, and medications can interfere with the regular sleep pattern as well.
Some of the common reasons for sleeping problems include the following:
- Stress/grief: Loss of a loved one, or moving away from family can be a significant cause of stress for the elderly.
- Daytime sleep: Reduce daytime sleep to avoid sleeplessness during the night.
- Menopause and hot flashes: Hot flashes, as well as night sweats, are common during menopause, which significantly interferes with sleep.
- Physical inactivity: Not getting enough exercise is also one of the major reasons for insufficient sleep.
- Insufficient sunlight: Staying indoors and getting less sun exposure can also interfere with quality sleep.
- Socially inactive: Being socially inactive, or spending less time with friends or not interacting with family members, can also be a major factor for improper sleep during the night.
Sleeping problems can cause several issues
Many of us experience trouble sleeping at one time or another. Usually, it’s due to stress, travel, illness, or other temporary interruptions to your normal routine. Furthermore sleeping less can also pave the way for chronic degenerative diseases to sneak in, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, breast cancer, and weight issues. Therefore, certain steps need to be adopted by the caregivers to promote better and quality sleep in the elderly. But before this, it is also necessary that family members as well the caregivers carefully understand the actual phenomenon behind the lack of sleep in older adults.
Take note of the sleeping problem symptoms
Carefully taking note of the symptoms of lack of sleep and discussing the same with the doctor, will help the caregivers understand the issue and give the elderly the right kind of treatment for the problem. Understanding the actual cause behind improper sleep will allow the doctors as well as the caregivers to check out an individualized treatment plan.
Adopt the following strategies to promote better sleep:
- .Get treated for underlying medical conditions, such as chronic pain that may be interfering with the sleep pattern.
- Getting treated for depression can also promote a good night’s sleep.
- Limiting the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
- Studies have postulated that older adults who exercise regularly had less trouble falling asleep at night, than those who did not. Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to induce sleep in the elderly population.
- Bright lights in the bedroom can interfere with sleep. They can also slow down the production of the melatonin hormone (the one which is responsible for sleep). It is best to opt for dim night lamps that do not directly hit the eyes and interfere with sleep.
- If possible, consider keeping the computer, mobile phones, and other electronic gadgets out of the bedroom. If not, switch them off at least an hour before going to bed. This prevents the bedroom from overheating.
- Dietary habits have a lot to do with sleep problems during the night. Older adults must not consume spicy foods and large meals for dinner. Also, make dinner meals as light as possible for easier digestion.
- Complete dinner at least 3 hours before going to sleep. If this makes the elderly hungry during sleep time, give them light snacks to munch on.
- Drink a glass of warm milk before sleeping. It is a good practice that promotes better quality sleep.
- Cut down on the intake of liquids before going to bed. This will minimize the number of visits to the toilet and help the elderly get a peaceful sleep. All these sleep habits can certainly help the elderly avoid many common sleeping problems. Getting good sleep during the night minimizes many problems, and helps older adults live a quality life.
When to call a doctor
If you’ve tried a variety of self-help remedies without success, schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist or ask your family doctor for a referral to a sleep clinic, especially if:
- Your main sleep problem is daytime sleepiness and self-help hasn’t improved your symptoms.
- You gasp chokes or stops breathing during sleep.
- You sometimes fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while talking, walking, or eating.
Then it is time to call a doctor. Provide your doctor with as much supporting information as possible.
Sleeping problems can be horrible, but with the above tips and suggestions, you can learn to fall asleep fast. Also, It can be difficult to attend to your loved one with sleeping problems, but it’s not impossible. With the right knowledge, you can do this. Don’t forget about taking care of yourself and keeping your business going while you are caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey, schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly.