August 4, 2021
Some estimates are that up to 48% of seniors experience insomnia or have sleep problems. There are many things that can cause seniors to not get the sleep they need, including some medications and medical conditions like depression or anxiety. Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease can also cause seniors to suffer from disordered sleep because of the impact that they have on the brain and senior health. Sleep apnea is another common cause of poor sleep in seniors.
When seniors don’t get at least six hours of sleep regularly they aren’t getting a deep sleep that they need to stay healthy. Having a home caregiver stay with your senior parent at night can help alleviate some of their anxiety and give them a sense of security so that they can relax and sleep. A few things that seniors can do to improve the quality of their sleep include:
Bedtimes are not just for kids. Going to bed at the time each night can help you sleep better and sleep longer. To help your senior parent get into the routine of going to bed at the same time each night you have a home care provider help them get into their pajamas each night at the same time and give them a snack or a hot drink.
You also may want to call at the same time each night to say goodnight to your parent. This can reassure them and help them settle in for a good night’s sleep. Even if you only talk for a couple of minutes just hearing your voice can be very soothing to your senior loved one.
Seniors should be trying to get at least 30 minutes of brisk activity most days of the week because of the many health benefits of exercise. One of those benefits is helping seniors establish a regular sleeping pattern. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will help seniors sleep better at night. But, exercising at night isn’t recommended because it could be too stimulating for seniors and make it difficult for them to fall asleep.
Most people, including seniors, sleep better when they take some time to relax and wind down before bed. About 30 minutes before they want to be asleep seniors can relax with a hot drink, read a book or listen to an audiobook, take a bath or a shower, or do other calming and relaxing activities to help them prepare to fall asleep. A home care provider can be a big help in getting seniors ready for bed.
If sleep apnea is keeping your senior loved one from getting the sleep that they need a CPAP machine might help. If medication side effects are causing insomnia switching to a new medication might help. It’s important to look at any medical issues that could be affecting your senior loved one’s sleep and deal with those problems so that your senior parent can sleep better and sleep safely for better senior health.