Sleep Problems in Old Age

It is normal to sleep lesser number of hours than you usually do, feel sleepy early and wake up early as you age. Just like our body ages, our sleep patterns also change. But that doesn’t mean elders should be sleeping less than they should as it could affect their general well-being and daytime functioning. Research also says it is not necessary for elders to lose their sleep as a result of ageing.

If elders exhibit the following problems, it could be because they are not sleeping well :

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Depleted energy levels
  • Lack of concentration
  • Digestive problems

Elders are bound to have sleep problems if they have trouble getting to sleep, wake up incessantly during the night, feel tired during the daytime and exhibit the strong urge to take long naps during the day. In order to avoid situations like this, you can help your elderly parent or relative try the following:

  • Make sure they have regular bedtimes, like children have – It is important to have specific timings for sleep because the biological clock will adjust itself every night.
  • A warm bath before bed – This has a soothing effect and the dip in temperature can make them feel tired
  • Make afternoon naps shorter – A short nap of 15 minutes would be ideal, that’s all their body needs to get rejuvenated.
  • No alcohol before bedtime – Having a drink before sleeping might just put them to sleep, but this will not last long, nor would be able to get a restful sleep
  • Go for evening walks – Exercising is the best way to sleep well; it is also a refreshing activity
  • Avoid caffeine after noon – Caffeine can mess up the internal clock; avoid it if possible