Sleepless Nights: Solutions for Sleep Problems

Sleep problems

Article by 

Lucy Pearson

As we age, the value of a good night’s rest increases. Yet, for many elderly individuals, sleep can deteriorate as they age. In this article, we delve into the often-overlooked issue of problems with shut-eye among the elderly. We explore the steps we can take to ensure our elders once again find solace in the embrace of a peaceful night’s rest.

Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule

Encourage a regular shut-eye schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate the body’s internal clock.

Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment

Ensure the bedroom is conducive to rest. This includes a comfortable mattress and pillows, adequate room darkening, and a comfortable room temperature (typically cooler is better).

Limit Stimulants

Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol intake, especially in the evening. These substances can disrupt rest patterns and make it harder to either fall or stay in a deep slumber.

Encourage Physical Activity

Regular physical activity, appropriate for the individual’s fitness level, can improve the quality of one’s slumber. However, avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.

Address Underlying Health Conditions

Many medical conditions can contribute to issues with shut-eye among the elderly. Consult with a healthcare provider to address issues like chronic pain, anxiety, or depression, as treating these conditions can often lead to improved sleep.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)

This can be effective for older individuals experiencing difficulties with shut-eye. It focuses on changing habits and thought patterns related to the way in which we rest and to improve sleep quality without medication. Consulting with a specialist or therapist trained in CBT-I can be beneficial.

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