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How to Help the Elderly in Managing Their Sleep

As people start aging, their sleep patterns change. There is an increase in severe sleep interruptions, experiencing lesser deep sleep, etc.

Disturbed sleep patterns such as insomnia or waking up groggy and tired every day isn’t necessarily related to only the elderly.

However, older adults with poor sleeping habits are more prone to depression, lack of focus, daytime drowsiness, memory problems, etc.

People who don’t sleep well have higher serious health risks such as diabetes and cardiovascular issues.

One should know that managing the sleeping patterns of an older adult requires patience, time, and expertise.

Dealing with sleeping problems oneself can itself be frustrating and tiresome.

When identifying the cause of disrupted sleep among the aged, it might include the following:

  • Stress
  • Medical issues like Alzheimer’s
  • Illness/physical pain
  • Medications

Before proceeding towards a severe sleep treatment, check whether they have the following sleep hygiene routine:

  • Having an active daily routine including both physical and social activities
  • The bedroom is quiet, dark and calm and peaceful.
  • Having a balanced nutritional intake 
  • Regular sleep schedule
  • Limited use of stimulants such as caffeine, sugar or alcohol
  • Pre-bedtime routines

Healthy sleep treatments for the elderly

Although there are no faster or foolproof ways of getting more sleep, the good part is that specific steps can be taken to help the elderly have sound night slumber.

One can adopt certain sleeping habits based on their suitability and needs.

Having a regular sleep schedule: Try sleeping and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps the body gets accustomed to the biological clock or circadian rhythm where the body gets accustomed to the specific time to promote a restful sleep.

Follow a nighttime routine before bed: Having a regular nighttime routine can maintain consistency in going to bed. This can include simple daily habits such as brushing, bathing, reading, skincare, etc.

Stay away from afternoon naps: Although taking afternoon naps might seem refreshing, it can also make it to be a challenge to fall asleep early at night.

No screen time in bed: Lights from devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops stimulate the brain, which can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Avoid the use of these devices when in bed.

Eating Habits: Having a heavy or a late dinner can make one harder to fall asleep. Avoid eating heavy meals at least for a few hours before going to bed.

Comfortable sleep setting: Having a healthy environment can sleeping to be a treat. Ensure that your bed is comforting with quality mattresses, beddings, and fuzzy pillows for your good night’s dream. Use heavier curtains to block out excess light, or consider using an eye mask or earplugs to minimize the sleep disruption.

A good night’s sleep is very crucial for one’s physical and emotional health. Inculcating healthy sleep habits helps repair cell damage while refreshing the entire immune system. This, in turn, can help in preventing diseases, particularly for older adults.

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