Sleeping difficulties in Elderly People
As we get older, our sleep patterns change. Some of these changes are a natural part of aging, but retirement, health problems, increased sensitivity, grief, depression and bodily changes can affect our ability to fall or stay asleep. Insomnia is particularly common in older people, and can drastically affect your quality of life.
Many elderly people feel they don’t get enough sleep. Usually, an older person gets a similar amount of sleep to younger adults, but that sleep might not be as deep or restful. You may find it takes you longer to get comfortable and fall asleep, or you may be more easily awoken from sleep by noise and temperature changes.
With less activity and less to do during the day, napping can become a part of many older people’s routine, and this can contribute to their insomnia. Too much sleep during the day prevents you from sleeping at night.
Medical disorders common among the elderly contribute to insomnia. Pain from arthritis can keep you awake, while heart problems can cause breathlessness that lead to sleep difficulties. Urinary problems and constipation due to illnesses or side effects from medication can cause discomfort, as can allergies and nasal problems. Mental conditions like depression, dementia and psychosis can also cause insomnia.
In short, it’s no wonder more than half the population of over sixty-fives suffer from some form of insomnia!
Depending on the cause of your sleep concerns, there are many treatments available. For some elderly people, simply altering their lifestyle can make a huge difference. Cutting back on alcohol or caffeine, doing regular exercise, stopping smoking, going to bed earlier or later, and cutting out napping during the day can all have a positive effect on sleep patterns.
Sleeping pills have many negative side effects, such as dizziness, vomiting, balance problems, inability to concentrate and Daytime drowsiness. Doctors often hesitate to prescribe sleeping pills to older people because they can react badly when mixed with other medicines. Over-the-counter sleeping pills often aren’t much better, as these are usually antihistamines, and should not be mixed with other medicines.
Herbal sleep remedies, on the other hand, can support the body with sleeping difficulties with no side effects. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, simple and healthy alternative to other sleep remedies, try SleepDrops. Check with your doctor before taking herbal supplements if you are on any other medication.
Naturopathic tip: Herbs, homeopathic remedies and flower essences are very safe and effective options to help older people sleep. Increasing nutrients for the nervous system such as magnesium can also be helpful.