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Sleep issues in older people
Posted by Marketing on February 12, 2015

SleepSleep issues are a common complaint for people of all ages, with over one third of people experiencing sleep insomnia from time to time.

This is quite alarming because it is very important to get enough sleep. Sleeping well is essential to your physical health and emotional wellbeing. In addition to that, a goodnight sleep can:

  • Improve concentration and memory;
  • Allow your body to repair cell damage;
  • Refresh the immune system; and
  • Help prevent diseases.

Research has shown that as we get older, it becomes harder to get enough sleep.  Compared to when we are younger, as you age, sleep tends to be less deep and more interrupted.

There are many common causes of sleep disturbance in older people, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Changes in the body’s natural internal clock (this causes people to fall asleep earlier in the evening)
  • Diseases such as heart failure
  • Certain medicines
  • Not being very active
  • Pain caused by arthritis
  • Consumption of stimulants such as caffeine
  • Urination during the night
  • Psychological stress that comes with significant life changes, such as a death or moving away from your family home, can also cause sleep people to have trouble sleeping.

The symptoms of sleep disturbance are quite obvious and include things like finding it difficult to fall asleep, having difficulty telling the difference between night and day, waking up very early in the morning and waking up often during the night.

Often relieving chronic pain and controlling medical conditions such as frequent urination will significantly improve the chance of getting a full night sleep.

Sleep may also be increased through these lifestyle changes:

  • Avoiding large meals and limiting the amount of liquid consumed shortly before bed.
  • Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine.
  • Getting regular exercise early in the day.
  • Going to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Trying not to nap during the day.

Organise an appointment with your health care provider if a lack of sleep or too much sleep is interfering with your daily living.

References:

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-well-as-you-age.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Sleep_problems_insomnia

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000064.htm

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