We often notice changes in the sleeping patterns of seniors including waking up earlier, becoming sleepier in the daytime, or having a less deep sleep. However, improper nights’ sleep, tiredness in the daytime, and other symptoms of Insomnia should not be considered as a normal part of aging. Sleep for seniors is as important as their physical and emotional health. Older adults who don’t have a good night sleep are more likely to suffer from health issues like depression, memory loss, weakness, nighttime falls, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, weight loss, and breast cancer in women. It is crucial for family caregivers to ensure that their loved ones are having enough sleep.
How to identify underlying causes of sleep disorder in seniors?
You can tailor treatment for sleep difficulties or Insomnia by checking for possible causes including:
- Are they under excessive stress?
- Do they feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
- Do they have chronic anxiety?
- Have they undergone any traumatic experiences?
- Are their medications affecting sleep?
How to help seniors have a better night’s sleep?
Encourage spending time outdoors
Enjoying sunlight and fresh air can go a long way to helping seniors’ sleep patterns at night as it helps regulate their body’s natural rhythm. To increase the chances of a good sleep further, encourage them to exercise while they are outside – a brisk walk or light cycling will help them feel tired during bedtime.
Pay attention to their diet
You can contribute to a great night’s sleep for your loved ones by filling their plates with heart-healthy fats, nutrient-rich and protein-packed food. It’s also a good idea to increase their intake of fruits that contain minerals. This helps relax muscles and get them to sleep faster.
Suggest they follow a bedtime routine
Following a bedtime routine will help their bodies’ natural time-keeping mechanism sync up. When they regularly go to bed at a fixed time, it becomes easier for them to have a healthier sleep experience.
Reduce bedroom distractions
Regular use of television, computers, cell phones, and bright lights at bed time can keep seniors up at night. Unplug such distractions to help your loved ones have better sleep.
Block out snoring
If snoring by others is keeping your loved one up at night, try earplugs, a white-noise machine, or separate bedrooms to keep the noise away.
Consult a doctor
If your loved ones continue to have sleep difficulties, speak to their doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Certain medications can also create sleeplessness, so check for the side effects of their medications.
With forethought and planning, family members and their caregivers can help seniors have a better night’s sleep.