Senior Sleep Problems

“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”   English Dramatist  Thomas Decker

As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep then they did during younger years.  According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), senior sleep problems have been reported by more than 40% seniors for being less satisfied with sleep and more tired during the day.  Studies have also shown an increase in the time it takes seniors to fall asleep and frequent sleep disturbances or fragmentation of sleep as well.  Before you respond by saying, “But I thought seniors don’t need as much sleep as they age?” You should be aware that this is a common myth since it has been shown that older adults do not need less sleep, but rather require the same amount of sleep they did from roughly their 20’s through older age, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

So what is robbing our seniors of their sleep?

  • Sleep Disturbances – A large factor affecting older adults is an increase of sleep fragmentation or insomnia.  An overactive bladder may be the largest cause of this bothersome problem.  Frequent trips to the bathroom may be causing you to lose sleep.  Treatment can be as easy as cutting back on nighttime liquids or 80% of clients have reported fewer trips to the bathroom when they used BetterWoman or BetterMan.  This all natural herbal supplement have been shown to decrease the urge and frequency of bathroom trips. Other sleep disturbance factors may include stress, certain medications and the use of caffeine or alcohol.   Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if your medication may the root cause of your sleepless nights.  If stress ifs a cause, exercise may be the answer since it is the number one stress buster for the human body.   Journal your worries to put them aside while you sleep.
  • Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome – Other factors affecting sleep are the circadian rhythms that coordinate the timing of our bodily functions including sleep.  For example older adults tend to become sleepier in the evening and awake earlier in the morning, compared to younger adults.  Many researchers believe Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome is associated with hormonal changes and light exposure.  Treatments for this include bright light therapy and behavioral changes to readjust sleep patterns.
  • Sleep Disorders – Some common sleep disorders may also be to blame for nighttime wakefulness.  Sleep Apnea which causes breathing to stop numerous times through the night can also put you at risk for heart problems, strokes, and high blood pressure.  Treatment for this can range from losing weight to the use of an air machine called a cpap.  Restless Leg Syndrome could also be the culprit  of those nights of no sleep.  Many older people describe this disorder as crawling, tingling or itching of the legs that requires movement or the urge to move the legs to provide relief.  Your doctor can provide a prescription to treat this disorder.

Most people accept sleep difficulties as a normal part of the aging process.  Irrespective of age – it remains that sleep is an essential to a persons physical and emotional health.  Sleep may just yet be the best barometer of good health for the elderly.

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