Sleep Problems in Seniors: Causes and Risks
Sleeping Well After 65!
Do these sound familiar?
- I have trouble falling asleep
- I have trouble staying asleep
- I am over age 65
If they do, you are having sleep problems and you are not alone. Contrary to popular belief, an older person needs just about the same amount of sleep as a 20-year-old: seven to nine hours each night. However, many seniors don't come close to those figures for a number of reasons, such as:
- They go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than when they were young
- They take a nap during the day, which makes it harder to fall asleep at night
- They take medication, which may have the side effect of disrupting sleep patterns
- They are disturbed by pain from such medical problems as arthritis or injury
- They are disturbed just by the problems of aging
This is a common sleep problem especially with seniors. It means you have trouble both falling asleep and staying asleep. Worry or problems are often a cause and are sometimes helped by over-the-counter aids, although they are not a permanent cure.
With this condition, a person experiences short pauses in breathing patterns during sleep and usually does not even realize it. It may happen many times during the night and produces loud snoring. If you have been told that you snore loudly or if you frequently feel sleepy during the day, you may have this condition and should see a doctor for remedies.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
With this disorder, your legs may feel tingly or full of pins and needles. Moving your limbs can help and so can some medications.
A Good Night's Sleep
Senior health is your goal. Being older doesn't have to make you tired, but a poor sleeping routine will. Try to return to good sleeping habits and improve your alertness with these suggestions:
- Avoid daytime naps and stick to the same get up and go to bed times if possible
- Don't eat a large meal close to bedtime
- Don't drink coffee late in the day
- Relax before bedtime by reading a book or listening to music
- Alcohol can be a sleep disturbance, so limit your intake
- Sleep in a dark bedroom
Remember that you and that 20-year-old still have something in common. It's called a good night's sleep.