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Do Seniors Suffer More from Insomnia?

We all know the statistics…the average person should get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. But often, we hear older folks complain about not being able to sleep. Seniors consistently say that they can’t fall asleep and/or that they wake up three or four times during the night and can’t fall back to sleep. Though much research has been done around this subject, it doesn’t seem like medical science can pin down just one or two culprits for this.


Do Seniors Really Need that Much Sleep?

According to the National Institute of Health, over half of those who are 60 years old and older report having a difficult time falling and staying asleep. Often, this same group reports that they wake up feeling achy instead of rested. Of course, this is a problem that should be discussed with your doctor, but a few of the more common reasons may be:

  • Mattress or pillow problems
  • Medications you may currently be taking
  • Health issues

Seniors do need just as much sleep as the rest of us. In fact, most research agrees that they should enjoy just a little more, up to nine hours per night. When we don’t get enough sleep, it can cause memory loss, depression and irritability. This is even more true for seniors.


What to Do About Insomnia

One of the big things that may help right away is simply to watch what you eat and drink after about six o’clock in the evening. Try to eat very light, perhaps a piece of fruit or a bowl of cereal if it’s after six. Stay away from any type of caffeinated beverage as well.

The activity level of seniors is one area that should also be addressed. As we age, we tend to be less active. We aren’t running around after toddlers anymore, or dashing off to the grocery store or a PTA meeting. Seniors normally have a more rested, relaxed lifestyle that rarely includes the type of strenuous activity that might make one sweat.

When we reach this stage in our lives, we no longer need large amounts of food. Food is, after all, fuel for our bodies and if your car won’t be traveling but a few miles today, then it doesn’t require much gas to get there. Sleep works the same way. A lack of physical activity may well be one of the major reasons why seniors can’t sleep. A great cure for this might be simply taking a walk each evening.

Walking is healthy for just about everyone. It helps to clear away the cob webs and gives us a fresher perspective. A nice relaxing walk can calm you down if you’re upset about something. If you have a pet, then take them along with you on your walk and the two of you just relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

Insomnia can also be caused by a host of medical problems. Some of these are minor ailments that your doctor can easily address. Some are more complex, serious issues.

If you are having a hard time falling asleep each night or consistently waking up to find that you can’t fall back to sleep, discuss this with your doctor. There are a number of home remedies and herbal concoctions that can help with insomnia, but be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any new medication. Even though, the herbal remedies can usually be purchased over the counter and are safe for anyone, some of them may have ingredients that diminish the effectiveness of blood pressure or heart medications.

The Senior Care Guide provides you and your family with extensive information on assisted living facilities and home care throughout America. The website goes into detail to address issues like financing as well as a wealth of info on the various types of plans and programs available for seniors. Regardless of what stage of life or health your loved one may currently be at, there’s an excellent senior care place that they’ll love! The Senior Care Guide is here to help you locate that place.


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