Sleep patterns can change as adults age. Seniors may wake up earlier and go to bed earlier than they used to. Sleep may feel more fragmented and seniors may not sleep as deeply as they used to.
Chemicals and hormones in the body that change with age are responsible for some of the differences, however, there are other things that can affect a senior’s sleep as well. Certain medications and medical conditions, too, can contribute to sleep disruptions. Pain, diabetes, prostate problems, sleep apnea, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease are among the common medical culprits that can interrupt sleep. Lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking, and caffeine can play a part too.
When Sleep Changes Become a Problem
If a senior awakens still feeling tired, or wakes up in the night and is unable to get back to sleep it is a problem. Other sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep.
Lifestyle Changes can Promote Healthy Sleep
Making changes to sleep-disturbing habits, of course, can make a difference. Avoid caffeine, especially in the eight hours before bed. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and many sodas. Avoid nicotine and alcohol. There are other lifestyle changes that can also help a senior sleep more soundly at night.
Senior Care can Help Support Healthy Sleep
There are many ways professional senior care aides can help support a senior’s healthy, sleep-promoting lifestyle. Senior care is tailored to each individual’s needs, preferences, and situation so it will look different for everyone. Some examples of helpful interventions might include:
Have a Good Night’s Sleep
Changes in sleep shouldn’t mean that the senior is perpetually tired. If lifestyle changes don’t help, talk to the doctor. Keeping a sleep diary can be helpful for identifying patterns and sharing relevant information with the doctor.