Many active senior citizens are missing out on a decent night’s sleep. Persistent lack of sleep saps energy and has a negative impact on daily events. Over time insomnia and other types of sleep dysfunction will steal the ability to enjoy life. It is essential to diagnose and treat sleep disturbances in the elderly without delay. Recognition of poor sleep patterns by caregivers is another tool for helping seniors lead contented, satisfying lives.
Older people need fewer hours of sleep than younger people, but health experts agree that everyone needs sound quality sleep to stay healthy and bright. As we age, the ability to slip into restorative sleep diminishes. This inability to sleep soundly is common among elderly people. They wake easily. Poor sleep can initiate a downward spiral of health issues in those who may be vulnerable from advancing age.
There are many different types of dysfunctional sleep patterns observed in the elderly. Some sleepy people can’t nod off. Many say they can’t turn off the little voice inside their heads once they are under the blanket. The longer they stay in bed the more anxious they become. Others fall asleep easily, only to wake a short time later, unable to get back to sleep. Frequent urges to use the bathroom are common complaints. Many sleepers arise well before dawn awakened by a nameless irritation. Even seniors have unpleasant dreams and nightmares. Some lose sleep due to panic attacks. The types of sleep disruptions are as varied as individual personalities.
The opposite side of too little sleep is too much sleep. Excessive sleep can be a symptom of mental illness or other underlying disease. It may simply be a side effect of medication, but it is crucial to consider the cause of excessive sleep.
Chronic pain is often a trigger of insomnia among the aging. Arthritis and bursitis flare up. The process of aging can be responsible for nighttime pain. Injuries suffered long ago begin to ache.
Sleep disturbances may be symptoms of more serious illnesses such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects many of the body’s organs. Sleep may be influenced by psychological factors. Alzheimer’s patients may be unable to tell the difference between night and day.
Getting a full night’s sleep may be as easy as eliminating caffeine or alcohol. A glass of warm milk before going to bed in a dark, quiet room may be the solution. A little more exercise, perhaps a brisk walk early in the day, may provide relief. Foregoing naps and catnaps may do the trick. Finding new sleeping quarters for the cat or the dog that sleeps on the same bed could be the solution to a sleep issue.
Caregivers should not ignore poor sleep patterns in the elderly. Sleeping problems should be taken seriously, and solutions found. Being tired all the time depletes vitality. Senior citizens who aren’t getting a healthy night’s sleep should consult a medical professional to rule out medical issues.
Providing excellent care should be the primary objective of all elderly caregivers. Helping seniors who can’t sleep find solutions is well worth the effort.
Cinergy Health & Life Insurance Agency is dedicated to providing quality health and life insurance plans for people in a variety of life situations. For more information on a selection of health and insurance topics, visit the Cinergy Health & Life Learning Center at http://www.cinergyhealth.com.