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How the Elderly Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

How the Elderly Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

As people get older, a good night’s sleep becomes much harder to achieve. Sleep among the elderly tends to be much choppier and less deep than their younger counterparts meaning they may wake up several times during the night and it takes less for them to wake up. They also spend much less time in dream sleep than younger people. Just because the elderly tend to get less sleep than younger people, it is still equally important for restorative health benefits. There are several reasons why the elderly get less sleep and several ways for them to the sleep that they need.

Bad sleep habits

One of the most common of sleep problems among older people is that they choose or are often forced to have poor sleeping habits. It is important for all people to maintain a regular sleep pattern and when there is no regular sleep pattern it is much more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Family restraints, work are two of the possible options that may cause the elderly to get off a regular sleeping pattern. The elderly are also more likely to take naps during the day which often throws off a regular sleep pattern. Often alcohol, a depressant, can actually keep you awake when you want to go to bed throwing off your sleeping pattern, especially in the elderly. Retirement is also something that takes some getting used to for elderly individuals. Suddenly, the elderly have a lot of time on their hands which can create some odd sleep patterns.

How the Elderly Can Get a Better Night’s Sleep

There are several solutions to alleviate poor sleep habits. Finding a way to get your work done during the day and communicating with family about your sleeping trouble is a good start to at least set up a more normal sleep pattern. If you are going to take a nap during the day to attempt to recover some lost sleep, try do so well before you attempt to go to bed for the night. Avoiding alcohol before you go to bed is also a wise decision and will help with sleep patterns. Physical activity during the day is also a good, healthy option to burn some unused energy so that your muscles and body will crave the restorative effects of sleep. Even though, the elderly have more time on their hands, it is still important to keep a regular sleep schedule so they have their normal amount of energy.


The elderly are more likely to take medications than younger people and often these substances will alter sleep patterns. In some cases, medication can create wakefulness at night. Consulting with your doctor when taking medications is wise to see how they will affect your sleep. If a medication alters your sleep pattern it is wise to tell your doctor and you may be able to move to a different medication. Doctors can also presrive medications to help alleviate sleep issues.

Psychological issues

Being an elderly individual also means that you have experienced a lot of in your life both positive and negative. Traumatic events such as death often messes with sleep as an individual will focus so much on these events that their mind cannot go to sleep. Stress from family or work can also cause the loss of sleep. Communication with individuals close to you such as family and friends is a good way to alleviate some of the burden that you are carrying and often works to achieve a better sleep pattern. There are plenty of financial professionals that handle financial problems of the elderly and speaking with them and setting up a plan can also alleviate the stress the elderly.

Disruptions of normal sleeping behavior are common among the elderly due to the changing of their bodies as well as outside influences. Luckily, by keeping a regular sleep schedule and maintain a healthy lifestyle, the elderly can help themselves get the good night’s sleep they need.

Senior Sleep Cycles – Keep Healthy!


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Sleeping problems are common among senior people as various chronic diseases affect the quality of their sleep. Respiratory disorders, arthritis, cardiovascular problems only get worse with age making it difficult to fall asleep.  A lot of people believe that sleep disorders are normal effects of aging. This belief prevents many seniors from getting adequate help with their sleeping problems. A simple visit to your general practitioner would help to identify the problem and find a solution.

People go through different stages of sleeping habits in their lives. Newborn babies normally sleep up to 17 hours per day. The amount of sleep declines as children age. Toddlers would still sleep up to 12 hours while 8 hours of sleep is enough for adults. Elderly people also need to get at least 8 hours of sleep per day; however, most of them experience difficulties getting enough sleep.

Common issues

There are certain solutions to help elderly to improve their sleeping habits. Sleeping disorders are not inevitable as some people think. If left untreated these problems may affect the quality of life. Sleep deprivation would force people to take naps and nod off in the middle of the day. A lot of people may wake up in the middle of the night unable to fall asleep again. Is there anything you could do to help your loved ones with daytime fatigue and light sleep?


Doctors normally prescribe sleeping pills for those who complain about their sleeping disorders. Medication is not the best

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solution for this issue. Elderly may develop a drug-dependency and suffer from its side effects.

The lack of physical activity and low exposure to the day light interfere with the quality of sleep in elderly. Sleeping medication sometimes could be ineffective due to low metabolism. That’s why establishing a stable sleeping habit would help them to get more sleep at night. You need to encourage your elderly relative to go for a walk during the day, read a positive book before going to sleep and maybe do some light exercising. These activities would make the elderly feel tired and relaxed before the bed time.

Elderly couples should sleep in different beds as their sleeping habits would prevent them from getting enough rest. Some people wiggle all night, others sleep in the same position for hours. These habits only get worse with age. That’s why you need to make sure that sleeping habits of one partner would not affect another during the night. People with light sleep are unable to go back to sleep in the middle of the night if someone wakes them up.

Symptoms of apnea, a common breathing disorder, can be eliminated with less time sleeping on the back. A good mattress would also eliminate certain problems with uncomfortable sleeping.

Aging is associated with multitude chronic diseases and sleeping disorders. However, it does not mean that you cannot help your loved ones with their needs. Anxiety, caffeine and nicotine also affect sleep in elders. Elderly should give up these habits for their own sake; otherwise sleep-deprived people may suffer from depression and decreased life quality.

Guest post by contributing author Linda Michelle, working together with World Market. Check out what they have to offer, like cost plus bed items!

How Seniors can Improve Their Sleep

Aging and Sleep Patterns

As your your body ages, so do your sleeping patterns. Seniors often find that they have trouble in getting used to the changes in their sleeping patterns. One of the reasons for these changes has to do with the body producing lower levels of growth hormone in the elderly, which lessens deeper sleep. Another reason has to do with lower levels of melatonin. Lower melatonin levels quite often means interrupted sleep. But, with these changes there are nevertheless ways that a senior citizen can deal with them and learn to still get quality and adequate amounts of sleep.

Overcoming Sleep Deprivation

During the later years of ones life it’s quite common to get sleepy earlier and go to bed earlier in the evening and wake up earlier, and even have your sleep interrupted by waking up several times per night. This shouldn’t be alarming at all, and it can be helped by getting in a nap or two during the daytime. The naps don’t need to be for hours at a time, either. They can be “power naps”, lasting between 15 and 45 minutes, just enough to freshen things up a little bit. If a senior can’t get the recommended 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night, it is still important to try to get some of that during the day. One of the repercussions or side effects of sleep deprivation in the elderly is poor memory at the least detrimental end of the spectrum, and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke at the more serious side of the spectrum.

Adequate Exercise and Staying Active

Exercise shouldn’t be abandoned just because of age. The elderly should still keep active. Aerobic activity such as swimming, walking, bicycling, and playing with the grandchildren are all great activities for seniors to be engaged in. Of course, the senior should never go against what their doctor recommends, or risk overextending themselves.

Being socially active by volunteering in the community can help keep lighter moods and also help your body at the same time. When the mind and body are engaged for the most part of the day, it is much easier to get to sleep at night.

Ridding Worry and Lessening Stress

If worry or stress is keeping a senior from being able to get adequate rest, it is important to have someone to talk to, and journaling is also a good way to constructively vent frustrations to get them out of the system to be able to relax the mind before bedtime. Calming music before bedtime that is set to a timer might also be a good idea to help a senior into a peaceful mode that readies for sleep.

Food and Drink Before Sleep

Light food and drink that helps induce sleepiness can be a good thing for the elderly. The important thing is not to eat any heavy or rich foods before bed, as these types of foods will have the opposite effect and actually inhibit sleep, overburdening the digestive system. Drinking things like warm milk or an herbal tea before bed is a good idea, as are very light foods such as crackers or yogurt just to make sure the senior isn’t going to be on an empty stomach. Certainly, things like alcohol and caffeine should be avoided before sleep.

The Sleep Surface

Don’t forget that an old, worn-out mattress can also inhibit good quality sleep for seniors. Many seniors suffer from pain syndromes such as arthritis, or generalized neck, shoulder, back, or hip pain. A nice new mattress can go a long way to giving a senior plenty of comfort in bed with the accompanying adequate support. Latex or memory foam are both great to help alleviate pressure points and help the senior to wake up pain-free.

Just because someone is in their later years, doesn’t mean he or she must give up on getting good quality sleep!

Author Bio: +Michelle Gordon is a sleep expert who researches and writes about sleep and health, and is an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist www.Latexmattress.org.