A good night’s sleep is essential at any age. Adequate sleep promotes immune-system health, improves daytime concentration and memory, and plays a vital role in repairing cellular damage. People who don’t get enough sleep often experience increased irritability, difficulty concentrating and performing everyday tasks, and lower quality of life. Despite its importance, sleep can sometimes be elusive, particularly for older adults. The natural changes in body chemistry that accompany aging can alter sleep patterns and make it more difficult to get the right amount of rest. Many older people find that they become sleepy earlier in the evening, wake up earlier in the morning, and experience sleepiness during the day. Although these changes are perfectly natural, they can interfere with normal sleep cycles.
In addition to the natural physical changes of aging, older adults may experience sleep disturbances for a host of other reasons. Illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can interfere with sleep, as can conditions which cause chronic pain. The side-effects of many medications can also cause insomnia. One of the leading causes of sleep disturbances for people of all ages is particularly prevalent among older adults who may be experiencing major life changes: stress. Retirement or a major change in work responsibilities, a move to assisted living, or a decline in independence can all be extremely stressful events. Stress, in turn, can dramatically affect the quality and quantity of sleep.
It’s important for seniors to combat stress-related insomnia in order to enjoy good quality of life. Making simple lifestyle changes can help: exercise, spending time outdoors, and participating in hobbies and social activities can all reduce stress and lead to improved sleep. Insuring that the sleeping environment is comfortable and restful is also essential: bedrooms should be kept at a comfortable temperature and free of light and loud noises. Breathing exercises, meditation, and comforting rituals, such as a warm bath or time with a good book, can all help to relieve stress and ease the transition into sleep.
Edison Home Health Care is happy to advise and assist you or any loved one who seek appropriate care for general assistance. Give us a call at 888-311-1142, or fill out a contact form and we will respond shortly.