Sleeplessness in seniors is a big issue.
Sleep is essential to the well-being of every person. The average senior needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. A doctor once joked to me, “You can take it in 2 doses.” That means, that if a person cannot sleep all 7 or 8 hours in on go, they can ‘catch up’ with an afternoon rest, for example. This has to be done in a way that will allow the best chunk of sleep to be had by night.
How Much Sleep is in the ‘Bank’ Account?
We can think of the hours we sleep, as making deposits in a sleep-bank account.
How can we keep track of the balance?
By noticing how many hours we sleep and the quality of our sleep. Also, by paying attention to how well we feel physically and emotionally.
Should we keep track of how many how we sleep?
It is uncertain if you can lose sleep and then catch it up by sleeping more. Rather, what happens is that the lack of sleep gets absorbed into the body generally.
The immune system might become weaker, or we may feel groggy and cannot think as well as we do normally. An accumulation of sleeplessness might lead a person to become a little weaker exposing the body to the harmful germs and so on around us. Perhaps the person catches a cold or simply feels like withdrawing from society for a little bit to recharge. It might be a cause to catch a cough.
To fix the lack of sleep, we tend to ‘crash out’. The body makes sure that it’s overdue sleep is repaid!
Who is Affected by Sleeplessness?
So, we might think that only teenagers and mothers of young children try to run on sleep-deprived batteries. But this is not necessarily the case.
Many seniors also get a taste of this annoying phenomenon!
A study looked at how many seniors suffer sleeplessness. That study found that up to 50% of seniors find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. ‘Insomnia’ is defined as not having enough sleep, or not having good-enough sleep. Seniors also experience periods of time when they sleep better or sleep worse. So finding a solution has to be a carefully thought out process.
Declaration: We Need Our Sleep!
Seniors need their sleep as much as other adults do. There are issues that simply disturb their sleep.
Here are a few examples:
- The body changes with age. Physiological changesand changes in sleep patterns and the circadian rhythm.
- Eating habits and preferences change and this affects a senior’s sleep.
- Avoid generally, and for sure close to bed time these ‘naughties’: coffee and other caffeinated drinks, smoking and alcohol.
Solutions to Daytime Sleeping
The honey sweet attraction of daytime sleeping, can rob seniors of a good night’s sleep.
Some solutions in connection with daytime snoozing, yawn:
- Try to nap for shorter than 20 minutes at a time.
- Plan activities to do during the time you would normally doze off.
- Do your daytime activities in a chair is not conducive to dozing off.
- Check thoroughly with your doctor, medical issues such as disturbances to the breathing apparatus (e.g. sleep apnea, posture that affects breathing)
- Self-regulate your sleep routine. Go to bed on time, wake up on time.
Making Successful Deposits in Your Sleep-Account
Hopefully, these tips have given you ways to understand why sleep is disturbed in seniors. As you see there are many solutions. Sleeplessness is not a compulsory part of senior adulthood.
Working to battle sleeplessness and insomnia is a worthwhile project. It can give a senior more years to their life and add life to their years.