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Wakefulness in the elderly

wakefulness in the elderly

McCurry SM, Logsdon RG, Teri L, Gibbons LE, Kukull Tbe, Bowen JD, eldegly al. Sleep in relation to aging, frailty, and cognition. Avoid stimulants such as caffeine found in coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate for at least 3 or 4 hours before bed.

Wakefulness in the elderly -

Insufficient sleep can also lead to serious health problems, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight problems, and breast cancer in women. While sleep requirements vary from person to person, most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

However, how you feel in the morning is more important than a specific number of hours. Frequently waking up not feeling rested or feeling tired during the day are the best indications that you're not getting enough sleep.

As you age your body produces lower levels of growth hormone, so you'll likely experience a decrease in slow wave or deep sleep an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle. When this happens you produce less melatonin, meaning you'll often experience more fragmented sleep and wake up more often during the night.

You may also:. At any age, it's common to experience occasional sleep problems. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you may be dealing with a sleep disorder :.

BetterHelp is an online therapy service that matches you to licensed, accredited therapists who can help with depression, anxiety, relationships, and more.

Take the assessment and get matched with a therapist in as little as 48 hours. Many cases of insomnia or sleep difficulties are caused by underlying but very treatable causes. By identifying all possible causes, you can tailor treatment accordingly.

Poor sleep habits and sleep environment. These include irregular sleep hours, consumption of alcohol before bedtime, and falling asleep with the TV on. Make sure your room is comfortable, dark and quiet, and your bedtime rituals are conducive to sleep.

Pain or medical conditions. Health conditions such as a frequent need to urinate, pain , arthritis, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, nighttime heartburn, and Alzheimer's disease can interfere with sleep.

Talk to your doctor to address any medical issues. Menopause and post menopause. During menopause, many women find that hot flashes and night sweats can interrupt sleep.

Even post menopause, sleep problems can continue. Improving your daytime habits, especially diet and exercise, can help. Older adults tend to take more medications than younger people, and the combination of drugs, as well as their side effects, can impair sleep.

Your doctor may be able to make changes to your medications to improve sleep. Lack of exercise. If you are too sedentary, you may never feel sleepy or feel sleepy all the time.

Regular aerobic exercise during the day can promote good sleep. Significant life changes like retirement , the death of a loved one, or moving from a family home can cause stress. Nothing improves your mood better than finding someone you can talk to face-to-face. Lack of social engagement.

Social activities, family, and work can keep your activity level up and prepare your body for a good night's sleep. If you're retired, try volunteering , joining a seniors' group, or taking an adult education class. Sleep disorders. Restless Legs Syndrome RLS and sleep-disordered breathing—such as snoring and sleep apnea —occur more frequently in older adults.

Lack of sunlight. Bright sunlight helps regulate melatonin and your sleep-wake cycles. Try to get at least two hours of sunlight a day. Keep shades open during the day or use a light therapy box. In many cases, you can improve your sleep by addressing emotional issues, improving your sleep environment, and choosing healthier daytime habits.

Since everyone is different, though, it may take some experimentation to find the specific changes that work best to improve your sleep. Naturally boost your melatonin levels. Artificial lights at night can suppress your body's production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy.

Use low-wattage bulbs where safe to do so, and turn off the TV and computer at least one hour before bed. Don't read from a backlit device at night such as an iPad. If like to read from a tablet or other electronic device, switch to an eReader that requires an additional light source.

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. We often become more sensitive to noise as we age, and light and heat can also cause sleep problems.

Using a sound machine, ear plugs, or a sleep mask can help. Ensure your bed is comfortable. Using an adjustable base , for example, can benefit both your upper and lower body, provide sleep apnea relief, and reduce back pain as you age. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. By not working, watching TV, or using your computer in bed, your brain will associate the bedroom with just sleep and sex.

Move bedroom clocks out of view. The light can disrupt your sleep and anxiously watching the minutes tick by is a surefire recipe for insomnia. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.

Block out snoring. If snoring is keeping you up, try earplugs, a white-noise machine, or separate bedrooms. Go to bed earlier. Adjust your bedtime to match when you feel like going to bed, even if that's earlier than it used to be. Develop soothing bedtime rituals.

Taking a bath, playing music, or practicing a relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or deep breathing can help you wind down before bed.

Limit sleep aids and sleeping pills. Many sleep aids have side effects and are not meant for long-term use. Sleeping pills don't address the causes of insomnia and can even make it worse in the long run. Combine sex and sleep.

Sex and physical intimacy, such as hugging, can lead to restful sleep. If you don't feel fully alert during the day, a nap may provide the energy you need to perform fully for the rest of the day.

Experiment to see if it helps you. As well as eating a sleep-friendly diet during the day, it's particularly important to watch what you put in your body in the hours before bedtime. Limit caffeine late in the day. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate late in the day.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Poor sleep is also associated with a poorer quality of life. Many people believe that poor sleep is a normal part of aging, but it is not. In fact, many healthy older adults report few or no sleep problems.

Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging. If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor or a sleep specialist.

There are treatments that can help. Sleep disorders can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night and can make you drowsy during the day.

The following are the most common sleep disorders among older adults:. Insomnia is the most common sleep complaint at any age. It affects almost half of adults 60 and older.

Short-term insomnia, lasting less than one month, may result from a medical or psychiatric condition. Or it may occur after a change in personal circumstances like losing a loved one, relocating, or being hospitalized. If insomnia lasts longer than a month, it is considered chronic, even if the original cause has been resolved.

Many factors can cause insomnia. However, the most common reason older adults wake up at night is to go to the bathroom. Prostate enlargement in men and continence problems in women are often the cause.

Unfortunately, waking up to go to the bathroom at night also places older adults at greater risk for falling. Disorders that cause pain or discomfort during the night such as heartburn, arthritis, menopause, and cancer also can cause you to lose sleep.

Medical conditions such as heart failure and lung disease may make it more difficult to sleep through the night, too.

Although depression and insomnia are often related, it is currently unclear whether one causes the other. They may nap more frequently during the day or may not exercise as much.

Spending less time outdoors can reduce their exposure to sunlight and upset their sleep cycle. Drinking more alcohol or caffeine can keep them from falling asleep or staying asleep.

Also, as people age, their sleeping and waking patterns tend to change. Older adults usually become sleepier earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. Lastly, many older adults take a variety of different medications that may negatively affect their sleep. Many medications have side effects that can cause sleepiness or affect daytime functioning.

Sleep apnea and snoring are two examples of sleep-disordered breathing — conditions that make it more difficult to breathe during sleep. When severe, these disorders may cause people to wake up often at night and be drowsy during the day.

Snoring is a very common condition affecting nearly 40 percent of adults. It is more common among older people and those who are overweight. Snoring is caused by a partial blockage of the airway passage from the nose and mouth to the lungs.

The blockage causes the tissues in these passages to vibrate, leading to the noise produced when someone snores. There are two kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when air entering from the nose or mouth is either partially or completely blocked, usually because of obesity or extra tissue in the back of the throat and mouth.

If these episodes occur frequently or are severe, they may cause a person to awaken frequently throughout the night. This may disrupt their sleep and make them sleepy during the day.

Central sleep apnea is less common. Often, both types of sleep apnea occur in the same person. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common among older adults and among people who are significantly overweight.

However, more research is needed to understand the long-term consequences of obstructive sleep apnea in older adults.

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Wxkefulness Updated May This article wakefulnezs created by familydoctor. org editorial staff and reviewed by Robert Lean protein meals Rich, Jr. Most healthy older adults aged 65 or older need hours of sleep each night to feel rested and alert. But as you age, your sleep patterns may change. These changes can cause insomniaor trouble sleeping. wakefulness in the elderly

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1 thoughts on “Wakefulness in the elderly

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