What causes sleep disorders in older adults?

What causes sleep disorders in older adults?
December 12 10:56 2020 by admin Print This Article

The fact that people normally need less sleep as they age is often interpreted to mean that not having a good night’s sleep is normal for the elderly. This is incorrect – a good night’s sleep is important at any age and especially so for seniors for whom sleep is essential in enabling their bodies to rest and recuperate. Thinking that feeling tired and sleepy during the day is a normal part of aging is wrong. The metabolic system does slow down with age, but that does not mean that you lack the energy to live a normal healthy life. Sleep problems are both a disorder and a possible symptom of another medical condition. Do not ignore sleep problems, whether chronic or occasional. The earlier a sleep problem is diagnosed and treated, the better you will feel and the more effective the treatment for any medical conditions the sleep problems may be a symptom of.

Sleep Basics

It is surprising how often people suffering from insomnia overlook the basics of having a good night sleep. You should ensure that:

  • Your bed (including the pillow) is comfortable
  • Your bedroom is dark -excess light will affect sleep quality
  • The room is well ventilated and neither too cold nor warm
  • There are no external noises that will disturb your sleep.
  • The person you share your bed with does not snore or disturbs your sleep in other ways.

If none of these apply to your situation, and you are unable to sleep properly, you have a sleep problem that needs medical attention.

Signs of Inadequate Sleep

If you are a senior and:

  • have trouble falling asleep
  • find the time you spend sleeping has reduced
  • wake up frequently at night
  • find that you wake up feeling tired and worn out
  • suddenly fall asleep during the day
  • have occasional attacks of unexplained dizziness
  • Suddenly feel exhausted for no specific reason

then you are probably suffering from insomnia or inadequate or poor-quality sleep. There are many medical conditions and other causes that can lead to poor sleep quality. Knowing the cause of the problem is essential to find a remedy for the problem. Although insomnia may not appear to be a serious or life-threatening condition, it can have a major impact on your health and leave you open to various other medical conditions and diseases. Because lack of sleep is such a common complaint, there are all kinds of home remedies and alternate medicine theories available on the internet. Some of these home remedies may be beneficial and could be used along with other accepted medical solutions. However, nothing should be tried until you have been examined by a doctor and a diagnosis of the causes of the problem is available.

The Solutions

Because of the range of reasons why you may be suffering from inadequate sleep are so many, you must be examined at a hospital with a specialized geriatric care department. After a thorough examination, a diagnosis of what is causing the insomnia will be provided so that a course of action to cure the problem can be prescribed. The treatment will depend on the cause of the problem, but one of the best geriatricians in India says that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is highly effective in improving sleep quality among the elderly. CBT consists of developing good sleeping habits by:

  • going to bed and waking up at the same time each day
  • keeping the bed as a place for sleep and not for working, watching TV, etc.
  • creating a calm and soothing bedroom environment
  • indulging in relaxing activities like reading, listening to soothing music, etc. before going to sleep
  • avoiding watching TV, using computers before going to sleep
  • avoiding daytime napping
  • avoiding alcohol and caffeine for some hours before bedtime
  • eating 3 hours before bedtime
  • getting enough exercise during the day

and other such changes as advised by the geriatrician.

In some cases, medications to help you sleep may be prescribed, but these may have serious side effects so they must be taken only under medical supervision.

Remember, waking up feeling tired and sleepy, or feeling that way during the day is not normal for the elderly. You may not have the same energy levels you had when you were young, but if your ability to live a normal active life is affected, you should see a doctor. Sleep problems among the elderly are common and are usually easily and safely treated. Once your insomnia is removed, you will find that your overall quality of life will greatly improve. The first and most important step in this direction is to consult the geriatric care department of a reputed hospital.

Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Tirunelveli – 0462 4006000 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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  1. ratul
    December 14, 08:51 #1 ratul

    Hello, yes  
    It’s an unforgettable chance. It’s been a lot accomplished. I liked it over many. I really liked it. I enjoyed it very much.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Devadarshni
    February 22, 23:10 #2 Devadarshni

    Important information! Thanks for the blog!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Laxmi Prabhu
    March 28, 17:46 #3 Laxmi Prabhu

    Good to see the problem being discussed.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Sudha
    June 26, 05:29 #4 Sudha

    Good sleep is essential for any age group. Good article!

    Reply to this comment

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