No matter what stage of your life you’re in, a good night’s sleep is always important. And we may face sleep problems at any age, from stressed-out college students to teething babies, not to mention the parents of those teething babies! Sleep problems are commonplace among seniors, too. Let’s look at some common sleep problems faced by seniors and the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Factors that disrupt sleep among seniors
We naturally become lighter sleepers in our old age due to a decrease in melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle. This means we experience less ‘deep sleep’ and are more likely to wake up during the night. This can also explain why seniors typically wake up earlier and go to sleep earlier than they may have done earlier in life.
While these are natural changes to our sleep cycles, seniors may also experience insomnia caused by other problems. Mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are, unfortunately, common among seniors, and conditions such as these can contribute toward insomnia and other sleep problems.
Physical conditions can also contribute to sleep problems. One common change in seniors is a weakened bladder, meaning that older adults are more likely to need to get up during the night to use the bathroom. This disrupts your sleep and, for some seniors, it may be difficult to fall back to sleep afterward. Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis can also make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
The consequences of sleep problems
Not getting enough sleep can really take a toll on your mental and emotional health. If you don’t have much energy during the day, then you’re unlikely to be motivated to do the things you enjoy and to keep up with your daily routine, such as chores around the house. It also affects your cognitive capabilities, making it more difficult to concentrate and form memories. This can especially be detrimental to those with dementia and related conditions.
A lack of sleep has an impact on your immune system, too. This means you become more likely to pick up an illness or suffer from more severe symptoms or complications from an illness. Being overtired also makes trips and falls more likely, which can cause serious injury among seniors.
If you or a loved one are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, then Healthline has some useful tips that might help improve your quality of sleep.
If you need advice or support when it comes to caring for a senior loved one, then contact Brookstone of Clemmons to find out more about our care services and assisted living community in Clemmons, NC.