Insomnia: How can seniors cope with it?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Clearly, getting adequate sleep is a nationwide problem, and one that is leaving lasting negative effects. Also, experts believe that aging can bring some changes to sleep. For e.g. older adults tend to get sleepy earlier in the evening and tend to sleep less deeply than when they were younger. Insomnia, or the inability to sleep, is not a disease but a sleep disorder. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep (onset insomnia), difficulty staying asleep (middle insomnia), waking up too early and not returning to sleep, and waking up feeling not refreshed. Insomnia can be characterized by a vicious cycle that feeds into itself.
Symptoms of Insomnia:
- Taking longer to fall asleep
- Mood swings
- Feeling drowsy and exhausted
- Accidents due to lack of sleep
- Impaired memory
Common causes of Insomnia:
- Poor sleeping habit
- Irregular sleep schedule
- Stress or anxiety
- Movement and Sleep Disorders, such as Restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, snoring and sleep apnea
- Neurodegenerative Disorders such as, Dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
- Urinary problems
How can seniors cope with Insomnia?
Here are proven, practical application tips for seniors to help them cope with sleep insomnia:
- Restrict the amount of time you spend in your bed to only time actually sleeping. Refrain from laying in your bed to read or rest signaling the brain mixed directions. Your bed should be restricted to a place of sleeping only.
- Increase the amount of exercise per day- even if it means walking in the house
- Create a sleep environment in the room that is dark, quiet and safe
- Look for ways that can help you relax before bedtime, such as a hot bath or calming music
- Maintain a strict sleep schedule -While it is recommended that you do not go to sleep at a set time, but rather when you are feeling sleepy- you should maintain a strict sleeping schedule when it comes to waking up. Be sure to wake up each morning at the same time regardless of the amount of sleep you received.