Insomnia is one of the most prevalent symptoms of aging. It affects any people over 60 and can be attributed to a number of causes. Many older people experience difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep, as well as waking during the night or waking up too early. This is in part because people’s circadian rhythm, which governs cycles of sleepiness and wakefulness, change with age. People who may have formerly been night owls may find that they become sleepy earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning. Additionally, sleep architecture – the proportion of time spent in deep, restorative sleep versus lighter sleep stages – changes, leaving older people more susceptible to waking up suddenly.
As well as the fundamental biological changes that occur with age, sleep may be disturbed by a host of ailments that are common in older populations. Aches and pains can be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. So can diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, of which insomnia is a common symptom. Additionally, sleeplessness can be a side-effect of many medications.
For older adults who struggle to get a good night’s sleep, insomnia is often extremely frustrating. Instead of waking up feeling refreshed and well-rested, insomnia sufferers often wake feeling groggy. This can have detrimental affects on the daily life of those who struggle with insomnia, interfering with normal activities and reducing energy. Particularly for older people, a lack of sleep can have negative implications for coordination and balance, leading to an increased likelihood of falls. It can also effect memory and make it more difficult to recall basic information. A lack of sleep can leave insomnia sufferers drained of energy, more likely to nap, and less likely to take part in exercise and outdoor activities, which in turn makes it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Because of the implications for quality of life, it’s crucial for insomnia sufferers to be proactive about managing their symptoms.
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.