An Introduction to Sleeping Problems in the Elderly



An Introduction to Sleeping Problems in the Elderly

Ask your aging loved ones how they slept the night before, and you’re bound to hear a few complaints.

It’s no surprise to hear an elderly person tell you they have difficulty sleeping. According to researchers, nearly 50% of older American adults complain of chronic trouble with sleep.

As we know, sleep is a vital part of maintaining our health, which is why it’s important to do what we can to ensure that our loved ones are getting their much-needed shut-eye.

Throughout this guide, we’re going to cover several topics regarding sleeping problems among the elderly, from the basics of sleep, to specific sleep disorders, to what we can do to maintain our sleep.

Today, we are going to focus on the basics. Take a look below:

The need for sleep does not decrease with age

As we age, the amount of time we sleep seems to decrease significantly, especially for the elderly; according to researchers, healthy young adults sleep 95% of the night, whereas healthy older adults, ages 60 and above, sleep 85% of the night.

This is due in part to changes in our sleep patterns as a result of aging. As we age, our bodies produce lower levels of growth hormones, affecting our deep sleep cycle and the amount of melatonin our body produces. As a result, we may experience more fragmented sleep, causing us to wake up more often and throwing off our internal clock.

However, despite the changes in our sleep patterns, sleep is still an essential part of maintaining our health, meaning that aging adults require just as much sleep as young adults do.

The amount of sleep you get is a good gauge of your health

Sleeping well helps to maintain both physical and mental health, as it is important for such things as improving concentration and memory, refreshing our immune system, and repairing cell damage.

As such, health experts take into consideration a persons sleep habits when gauging their health, as those who have trouble sleeping are more likely to suffer from depression, as well as certain illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight gain.

Sleep problems are not inevitable

Fortunately, trouble with sleep is not an inevitable part of aging. While difficulty sleeping is common among the elderly, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is entirely the result of aging. According to one study, most of the changes in sleep patterns occur between the ages of 20 and 60. Beyond the age of 60 though, older healthy adults experience very little change in their sleep patterns.

Rather, difficulty sleeping may occur as we age due to various health issues, such as certain illnesses, chronic pain, and/or depression. So, by maintaining our health, we can help to improve our sleep patterns to a certain degree.

Sleep is essential to maintaining our health and well-being, which is why it is so important to understand why and how we can ensure proper sleeping habits for our loved ones. On Wednesday, we’ll give you an outline of various sleep disorders, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give Encompass a call. We’d love to hear from you!

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living “currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa “provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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