It’s completely normal for people to occasionally experience a restless night. What’s not normal is the regularity of tossing and turning, resulting in a sleepless night. This is a condition known as insomnia.
Sleep is an essential aspect of health. It is just as important to your body as food, water, and air. Sleeping restores our health, gives us energy, and allows us to feel refreshed. Sleeping plays a huge role in your immune system’s response. There’s a reason why doctors recommend plenty of sleep when you’re sick. This is because that’s when your body’s immune system fights the strongest. Not getting enough sleep during the night is not only frustrating, but can also be detrimental to your health.
What Causes Senior Insomnia?
Senior insomnia is no different from any other type of insomnia. It seems that insomnia in seniors is more prevalent because of the aging process. Things like hormonal changes, menopause, medications, changes in brain activity, and more all affect senior’s ability to get a good night’s sleep.
If a senior is depressed, then they’re three times as likely to also have insomnia. The more the insomnia takes hold, the more depressing it can be. It can end up being a vicious cycle.
Risks of Senior Insomnia
Besides losing out on sleep, the risks of having insomnia in your senior years is quite worrying. Your immune system is already not as strong as it once was, so adding insomnia into the mix is going to make it much harder to fight off any virus or infection. Because the senior is sleep deprived, the risk of falling increases. Lack of concentration can also be a major issue. Things like leaving doors unlocked or leaving a stove on could have horrible outcomes. Constantly being tired can also affect your ability to drive. If you’re tired, your reaction time goes down exponentially.
What Can Be Done to Help?
Sometimes simple lifestyle changes can allow you to get a good night sleep. Not drinking any stimulants, like caffeine or alcohol, within three hours of bedtime can help. Exercising early in the day, but no later than four hours before bedtime. Trying to have a routine sleep schedule and adhering to it regularly. Try relaxing activities before bed, like a warm bath or calm music. Reducing screen time is also a great way to get better sleep. Studies have shown that the type of light that televisions, smartphones, and computers emit actually tricks the brain into staying awake. Instead of screens, try reading a book (paper or e-ink), this will calm the mind and get it ready for sleep.
Any sort of medication that you would take to help with sleep should first be discussed with your doctor. Because of interactions between various medications, adding sleeping pills to the mix could do great harm. The first thing you should do is speak with your doctor. This goes for both over-the-counter and prescription medication, as well as any sort of natural supplements. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Dim the lights, pour a glass of water, grab a book, and prepare to drift off into a wonderful sleep. Bonaventure Senior Living communities understand that in order to get a good night’s sleep you must be comfortable. Our suites are built with comfort in mind. Spacious floor plans with plenty of room for a nice, comfy bed. Our communities combine warm ambiance and charming décor with all the amenities needed to make a lovely and comfortable home.