7 Effective Sleep Problem Solutions for Seniors
Many older adults complain about their struggles when sleeping. Some complain about their difficulties falling asleep while others complain about frequently waking up in the middle of the night. These are actually normal for older adults, especially those who have reached several menopausal stages, according to studies conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, it is obviously not good for older adults to only get few hours of sleep when the recommended sleep amount for any age group is 7 to 8 hours.
Several studies conducted at Harvard University have already shown that an insufficient amount of sleep might lead to several serious health problems like irregularities in metabolism, increase in blood pressure, abnormal increase or decrease in body weight, mood swings, slow memory recall, impaired control of blood glucose, hypertension, and more.
But what should a senior do to avoid these serious health problems? Check out these seven effective ways to help older adults have a good night’s sleep.
- Understand the sleeping needs of the body- according to the National Sleep Foundation of America; older adults do not need to sleep for 8 hours. They can sleep for just 7 hours and if this much is not enough then they need not worry. A sleeping chart has been released by the NSF. This chart shows the amount of sleep a person might need. It will be helpful if you can ask your loved ones to monitor your sleeping issues such as snoring. For others this may sound normal but it is actually not. Without even realizing it may indicate that they might be suffering from sleep apnea.
- Your lifestyle habits should be examined- no matter your age, it is good to eat healthy and do appropriate exercise. On ones sleep, regular exercise has a dramatic effect. It reduces stress which then gives you a good sleep. Also the quality of sleep can increase by having healthy diet. According to a study, sleep and food intake are directly related to each other. It has been found that people who have inadequate amount of sleep have larger amount of caffeine and have bigger appetite. This makes the leptin levels go down. Our appetite is regulated by a hormone known leptin. Caffeine acts as a stimulant and disturbs our sleep. Hence 6 hours before bedtime phase out the intake of caffeine or reduce it.
- Bedroom makeover- the bedroom should be darker. Darkness sends message to the brain. This increases the melatonin level. This gives the person feeling of sleepiness. However the brain sends the message to stay awake if the eye detects light. The curtains and window treatments should be replaced such so that easily light does not penetrate. To calm down and fall asleep you can also use aromatherapy.
- Bedroom routine- you should develop a routine in such as way that your body should be able to detect and record the time to sleep. Only when sleepiness strikes go to the bedroom. It should be like a sleeping sanctuary for you. On your natural clock the body will record this activity. This will indicate the body that bedroom is meant only for sleeping. Thus the body’s clock record is prevented from being altered.
- Treat restless leg syndrome- even if the leg is at rest in this condition, it involuntary moves. According to the National Sleep Syndrome this is a sleep related movement disorder. in the middle of the night this condition can disrupt sleep. Also when sleeping the person might suddenly kick. Get treatment if you suspect this condition. If it is phased out it will help you get good night sleep.
- Present medical condition should be assessed- serious medical conditions can arise due to lack of sleep. However sleep can also be disrupted due to medical conditions such as coughing, runny nose, hay fever. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment if you have any of these conditions. You can boost the immune system by proper rest. This will prevent you from getting sick again.
- From sleep experts seek help- consult a sleep expert if you have trouble sleeping. It might be difficult to detect the problem on your own. It might be effective to track your sleep with an app or ask your loves ones to make a note of your habits but consulting a medical practitioner is also a best method.