Everyone needs a good night’s sleep in order to operate at their peak performance. For the elderly, not getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can have serious consequences. Chronic insomnia can lead to cognitive impairment, irritability, depression and an increased susceptibility to falls and accidents. Lack of sleep has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
The most frequent causes of senior sleep disorders include the following…
–Medications or drug interactions may be responsible for increasing stimulation to the point that sleeping becomes difficult.
-Pain from chronic diseases or an injury can make it difficult to get to sleep or stay there once they are dozing.
-Depression can cause sleep disorders and can also be caused by sleep disorders. It becomes a vicious cycle with depression leading to loss of sleep and loss of sleep fueling depression.
-Reduced production of melatonin, the hormone that creates our circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) and promotes sleep.
Doctors often prescribe hypnotics to help those with insomnia. Due to the possible side effects such as confusion, dizziness, and drowsiness, it is often not recommended for the elderly.
In addition, with the number of drugs your parent may be on, drug interactions can be fairly common. It’s always best to try alternative remedies before reaching for another drug prescription.
-Some alternatives to consider-
1)-Take a list of your parent’s medications and over-the-counter remedies they are taking to their local pharmacist. Ask them if there are any medications or drug interactions that could be causing the problem.
2)-If chronic pain is the problem, talk to their primary health care provider to find out if there are any alternative or additional treatments that your parent could benefit from. Depending on the cause, massage therapy, TENS units, physical therapy or nutritional therapy may be helpful.
3)-If your parent is diagnosed with depression, their physician may suggest antidepressants as well as psychosocial treatment.
4)-To help your parent’s circadian rhythm function at peak performance, make sure they get some sunlight during the day. A great way to incorporate this is to take a walk through the neighborhood or neighboring green space—getting both sunlight and exercise in at the same time! Dim the lights in the home at least one hour before going to bed and turn off the TVs and computers at this time as well. Check with their physician regarding possible supplementation with melatonin.
5)-Dim the lights in the home at least one hour before going to bed and turn off the TVs and computers at this time as well. Check with their physician regarding possible supplementation with melatonin.
6)-Check with their physician regarding possible supplementation with melatonin.
7)-Prepare the body for bed by developing an evening routine. This could be a warm mineral bath followed by a cup of herbal tea and 30 minutes of reading a relaxing novel or listening to an audiobook. There are several recordings that promote both relaxation and sleep and can be found on YouTube.
-Senior Care Provider-
If your parent needs help creating a peaceful evening schedule, or attending to the everyday activities of life, consider obtaining the services of a senior care provider.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Elk Grove, CA, or the surrounding areas please contact the caring staff at ApexCare®. Proudly Serving Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Solano, San Joaquin & Stanislaus counties.
Call Today 877-916-9111