Maybe you toss and turn. Maybe you wake up to use the bathroom. Maybe you push yourself to stay awake longer only to wake up exhausted.
If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing insomnia.
While many say that poor sleep is a typical part of aging, this is not true, according to the National Institutes of Health’s website (NIHSeniorHealth). In fact, poor sleep is extremely detrimental to the elderly, who need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, the same as a teenager.
According to NIHSeniorHealth, some results of poor sleep include:
o Depressed mood
o Attention and memory problems
o Excessive daytime sleepiness
o More nighttime falls and
o More use of over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids
In general, lack of sleep tends to lower one’s quality of life. If seniors want to avoid this, they must be careful.
Unfortunately, the elderly may experience numerous factors that can cause restlessness and insomnia. They include:
o Health complications, both physical and neurological
o Medications, depending on the side effects
o Taking frequent naps
o Spending less time outdoors and
o Becoming sedentary
There are a number of ways to try to combat this issue at home. For one, avoid alcohol and caffeine, which affect sleep in humans of all ages. Also, as you age it becomes more natural to fall asleep and wake up early, so don’t fight this by forcing yourself to stay awake. It may also be a good idea to do something calming before bed and make it part of your regular routine. This should make it easier to fall asleep and to get your body on a regular schedule. It helps to go to sleep and get up at similar times every day, too.
If your sleep pattern is disrupting your life or you feel constantly exhausted, please go see a doctor or sleep specialist. They are the experts and can give you advice tailored to your unique situation.