Sleep for Seniors: Challenges and Solutions

A good night’s sleep can make all the difference in the everyday lives of seniors and their caregivers. According to experts, uninterrupted sleep should be maintained throughout all life stages.

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For optimum health, it is recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours every night. [1] A good night’s sleep will yield a more energetic, alert and content senior.

Setting a sleep schedule for your aging loved one is a vital task that should be taken seriously. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “44% of older persons experience one or more of the nighttime symptoms of insomnia at least a few nights per week or more.”[2] In this blog we will try to help identify sleep problems and offer solutions for a restful night’s sleep and peace of mind for both seniors and their caregivers.

Challenges for Senior Sleep

  • Physical Pain
  • Mental Stress
  • Effects of Certain Medications
  • Frequent Daily Naps
  • Lack of Physical Activity
  • Sleep Disorders such as Restless Leg Syndrome

 

These are all extremely common factors that disrupt or prevent sleep in elders. To rectify these symptoms, it is important to be active and vigorous in practice to ensure one is obtaining the most beneficial and restful sleep.

 

How can you solve this Problem?

  • Meet with your doctor to identify if there is an underlying medical cause for any change in sleep
  • Exercise both your mind and body each day. For more information please read our past blogs about exercise and brain activity.
  • Stick to a regular bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar late in the day
  • Create a routine that helps ease you into the idea of sleep, a relaxing bath or reading a book in a dimly lit room are two serene options
  • Take a bathroom break before you sleep.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Find out how your diet may be affecting your sleep here.
  • The Sleep Foundation has researched sleep disruptions. Noise, light, and the comfort of your surroundings are the top three culprits of disturbed sleep. Removing these disruptions will make a difference in your ability to sleep through the night.

 

If you are looking for more on this topic, The Better Sleep Council offers additional information on sleep aids and the advantages of a good night’s sleep.

 

 

Additional Resources:

National Institute on Aging: A Good Night’s Sleep

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

 

 

[1] “Sleep Tips for Older Adults: Causes and Solutions.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 09 Aug. 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/aging-affects-sleep#1 .>.
[2] Stevenson, Sarah. “5 Foods That Help Seniors Sleep Better.” 5 Foods That Help Seniors Sleep Better. A Place For Mom, 27 June 2014. Web. 09 Aug. 2016. <http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/6-27-14-foods-to-help-seniors-sleep/>.

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