The most prevalent sleep issue is insomnia, which is defined as a subjective experience of inadequate or nonrestorative sleep despite ample sleep chances. Though insomnia affects a substantial size of the older population, it is frequently undiagnosed and untreated, and nonpharmacologic therapies are underutilized by health care providers. The reasons for insomnia in seniors will be discussed in this article so that we may all have a better grasp of the issue.
Sleep and exercise, according to experts, have a bidirectional link. This means by improving your loved one’s exercise regimen, they may be able to snooze better. Similarly, by having enough sleep, your family member will be rewarded with higher levels of physical activity throughout the day. Older adults can improve their sleep quality by engaging in moderate-to-vigorous workouts and at the same time, minimizing their reliance on sleeping pills.
The elderly often experience sleep deprivation or daytime sleepiness if they are on drugs for a chronic disease or even minor conditions. Certain heart, asthma, and hypertension medications, as well as flu, allergy, and migraine prescriptions, might disrupt typical sleep cycles. Since drug components affect individuals uniquely, a particular medicine may not have the same effect on both your parents.
Retirees with sleep-related respiratory issues frequently snore loudly, which can induce nightly awakenings and symptoms of severe daytime drowsiness. Other diseases, such as stroke, heart problems, and myocardial infarction are also linked to the issue. You may want to consider treating your parents with continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) care, which involves inhaling pressured air through a breathing mask while sleeping. This could greatly reduce snoring and apnea occurrences while snoozing.
Lack of Sun Exposure
Since sunlight works to synchronize the body’s internal clock, contact with more light during the daytime and lesser light at night are crucial for good circadian rhythms. More specifically, sunlight is considered to promote the release of a hormone named serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is linked to improved mood and the ability to be calm and concentrated.
Serotonin levels might drop if you don’t get enough sun. Low serotonin levels have been linked to an increased risk of chronic depression with seasonal patterns. If you reside in a higher latitude where there is minimal sunshine, consider buying a lightbox to help you sleep better.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome is a neurological sleep problem that produces unpleasant sensations and a strong need to move one’s legs. It’s tough to feel relaxed enough to hit the sack when your loved one has restless legs syndrome. In the evenings, the manifestations are frequently the worst.
This explains why older individuals get fewer hours of sleep each night if they suffer from the condition. Countless individuals experiencing serious episodes tend to sleep for not more than five hours per night. Milder instances do not disrupt sleep as much, however, the quality of sleep may be compromised.
Based on research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, close to 50% of older persons report insomnia symptoms. Identifying factors that may be causing sleep interruptions and modifying sleep behaviors to encourage better sleep are typically the first steps in treating insomnia. If the situation persists, you should consult your family doctor.