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Sleep Problems and How They Affect the Elderly

Elderly Care in Frisco, TX – Common Sleep Issues Can Be Even More Detrimental for Seniors

Elderly care is often a challenging endeavor in itself, but it can be especially difficult to figure out if your loved one is getting enough sleep. Studies show that the elderly are more susceptible to insomnia and other sleeping disorders, especially those over the age of 70. This may be hard to wrap your mind around because surely we have all had an elderly loved one take one or more naps during the day, so it would seem like they actually get more than enough sleep. However, this is in fact because your loved one may not be getting enough sleep during the night and needs the extra sleep cycle during the day to make up for it.

There are a few common reasons for this lack of sleep in the elderly. First, studies show a decline in the amount of deep sleep that an elderly person may be getting. This is also known as “REM” or “rapid eye movement” sleep, and it is the key component to a deep and restful night’s sleep.

Another common reason may be something called “sleep latency,” which is a fancy way of saying the time it takes your loved one to get to sleep. This can directly affect your loved one’s sleep cycle by disrupting the body’s natural sleep/wake pattern, causing your elderly loved one to go to sleep and wake up at different times each day.

Lastly, an increase of something called “sleep fragmentation” can also be to blame for your loved one’s lack of quality sleep. Sleep fragmentation really means the amount of times that your loved one wakes up during the night. Studies show that the elderly are much more likely to wake up multiple times during the night for several reasons. Some of these include nightly urination, localized pain caused by arthritis or neurological damage, possible side effects of medications, and depression.

If during your elderly care regimen you notice your loved one may not be getting enough sleep, there are some simple steps that you can take to try and help them get a better night’s rest. Making sure that your loved one doesn’t drink anything with alcohol or caffeine in it at least 2-3 hours before they go to sleep can help them get to sleep more easily and quickly. If they are still having trouble getting to sleep after around twenty minutes, having them do a quiet activity like listening to soothing music or reading a book can also help. To aid your loved one in staying asleep during the night, ask their doctor about any possible side effects of the medications they may be on—one or more of these side effects may be waking them during the night. You can also help reduce the need to urinate during the night by limiting your loved one’s intake of liquids a few hours before they plan on going to sleep. Lastly, you can make sure that your elderly loved one is getting enough exercise, especially earlier in the day, and has set times to wake up and go to sleep.

Now that you know the causes and how to help your loved one with sleep problems, you can more easily and actively be on the lookout. A good night’s sleep is something many of us take for granted, and with a little attention and changes to your loved one’s routine, they too can take back that luxury.

If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Elderly Care in Frisco, TX, Please Call The Caring Staff At Second Family Home Care At (972) 347-0700.


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