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It’s no secret that sleep tends to get more elusive as we age. And if this is happening to you, there is no reason to panic. Bouts of insomnia are to be expected with aging due to the body’s changing sleeping patterns. The National Sleep Foundation references various studies which show that older Americans need more time to fall asleep, experience less deep and restorative REM sleep, and have more problems with sleep fragmentation (waking up in the middle of the night).

This is why the prevalence of sleep disorders are likely to increase with age. Unfortunately, sleeplessness is also attached to the risk of developing chronic illnesses later in life, which means that more seniors end up in the hospital. This in turn will have a knock-on affect on the healthcare industry with Maryville University noting how there will be an increase in the demand for adult-gerontology nurse practitioners as we enter the middle of the 21st century. And with research proving that digital devices are linked to sleep deprivation, more elderly patients in the future are going to be visiting health clinics due to sleep related issues. This is why people of all ages need to be aware of the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.

For instance, apart from insomnia, hypertension is also a common condition among seniors. Guardian Angels of Home Health, Inc. discussed how hypertension can be linked to heart and kidney diseases. Not surprisingly it can also contribute to factors which make a good night’s sleep so elusive to seniors. It’s much harder to sleep throughout the night when you’re dealing with the uncomfortable and sometimes painful effects of having high blood pressure. In our discussion on hypertension, we also mentioned how the most effective way to manage it is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. Medications may certainly help, but if you’re looking for a long-term approach, lifestyle changes like DASH remain the safest and most effective for seniors.

This underscores another huge factor in how well or badly you sleep – your overall lifestyle. What you eat and drink, how much you exercise, the side-effects of current medication, and how stressed or bored you are all contribute to whether or not you’ll be getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep patterns are highly reliant on the other established patterns in your life. While sleeping pills may be effective for short-term bouts of insomnia, sleep-conducive habits, patterns, and practices will be much better at ensuring that most nights will leave you feeling well-rested upon waking up.

Medline Plus details some of the best sleep-conducive patterns and habits that you can adopt for a better night’s sleep at home. This includes avoiding tobacco, especially hours before your actual bedtime. Apart from contributing to hypertension and other conditions, tobacco can be a powerful stimulant, and will make it difficult for you to fall and remain asleep. There’s also using your bed only for sleep and intimate activities, and not for watching television or doing work. This allows your bed to be a mental cue for sleep and comfort, increasing your chances of falling into a sleep-conducive mindset once you make contact with your bed. And last but definitely not least of all is to go to bed at the same time every single night as much as possible. Establishing a consistent sleep pattern is one of the most effective ways to ensure that you can fall asleep quicker and wake up feeling fresh.

Article specially written for GuardianAngelsHomeHealth.Com

By: Beatrix Lettice

#Sleep #Insomnia #Seniors

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