Insomnia in seniors is a common problem because as we get older, we are more likely to have problems with sleep. Half of people over 50 complain of these problems, of which 15-20% suffer from chronic insomnia, which means insomnia lasting more than a month. What are the causes of insomnia in seniors and how to deal with them?
Insomnia in seniors: causes
Chronic diseases are one of the causes of sleep problems in old age. Joint and back pain prevent you from sleeping well. Burning behind the sternum accompanying heartburn and pressure on the bladder can cause awakening. Restless leg syndrome and other diseases also make night rest difficult.
Insomnia is often the first symptom of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and addiction (e.g. to alcohol). It can also signal the development of somatic diseases. It is a symptom of inflammatory diseases, especially rheumatoid, autoimmune, and endocrine diseases.
Insomnia in seniors: ways to help you sleep better
The problem of seniors is improper hygiene. In order to improve the quality of sleep, avoid eating heavy meals, drinking coffee, strong tea, and watching programs that evoke negative emotions in the evening.
It is important to ventilate your bedroom before bedtime, have windows closed, and lie down when you feel sleepy. Shortening the sleep time in an elderly person is not a disease. Therefore, without consulting a doctor, you should not take sleeping pills because it leads to addiction. Older people who have trouble falling asleep can take melatonin.
In the case of chronic insomnia, medications that indirectly affect sleep are used. These are mainly herbal preparations with a calming and relaxing effect, as well as properly selected antidepressants. These types of preparations can be used for a long time because they are not addictive. However, the treatment of chronic insomnia is not based only on medication.
In the case of chronic insomnia, it is worth visiting one of the sleep disorder treatment clinics.
You should do these things:
Do not change your daily routine, especially when you get out of bed. Also, do not prolong your sleep time. If you previously had 6-7 hours for good rest, stick to it.
Increase physical activity. Walk at least half an hour every day because exercise improves sleep quality.
Spend as many hours in bed at night as you feel comfortable. If it’s only 5 hours, sleep only that much. Tossing and turning from side to side for 2-3 hours and being worried that you can’t sleep only worsens insomnia.
Do not go to bed too early. If you go to bed at 9 pm and sleep only 6 hours, you will wake up in the middle of the night.
Try to wake up at the same time every time you get out of bed because this regularity in waking up helps to maintain a healthy sleep pattern.