Sleeping Problems In The Elderly

Sleeping Problems In The Elderly

Sleeping problems in​ the elderly are more than likely to​ manifest in​ a​ particular pattern, depending on the health of​ the person, and the prescription drugs they may be taking for their health problems.The quality of​ their sleep may change considerably, either because of​ less demands on their energy as​ a​ result of​ retirement, or​ through illness.

Illness disrupts sleep patters in​ the elderly, and may result in​ increased awakenings due to​ physical discomfort.Urinary urgency, cramps, angina,chronic obstructive airways disease,and left ventricular failure may be some of​ the many illnesses which cause sleep problems in​ the elderly.

An elderly person may become very anxious about a​ change in​ their sleep pattern, however, it​ will be necessary to​ thoroughly investigate the problem in​ order to​ ascertain if​ this perceived sleeping problem, causes dysfunction in​ their waking activities.If the elderly person has a​ carer, or​ lives with family then the problem may be easier to​ assess, for what appears to​ be a​ problem may only be a​ normal change in​ sleep pattern for the age.

The most frequently occurring sleep problem in​ the elderly appears to​ be sleep latency, the person may spend some hours in​ bed before sleep occurs. This may be perceived by the elderly person to​ be a​ problem, and sleeping pills may be sought.Sleep latency is​ more common in​ females, and this appears to​ apply in​ all age groups, not just to​ elderly persons,however, it​ does occur more often in​ elderly females.

Possibly reduced daytime activity,combined with daytime naps may contribute to​ reduced quality of​ sleep in​ the elderly. The pressure of​ a​ normal working day has been taken away, so the energy output is​ considerably less, while this may be offered as​ a​ possible reason for sleep latency, many others factors may be involved.

There may be much confusion about sleep latency, the difficulty may be exaggerated because the person who experiences it​ may be convinced that unless they have 8 hours of​ quality sleep, they will become ill.Sometimes it​ is​ difficult to​ convince an​ elderly person that they no longer require 8 hours of​ unbroken sleep, but may be better served by a​ shorter night time sleep supplemented with day time naps.

Re the old remedy of​ a​ glass of​ milk before bed:
According to​ Jean Carper, The Food Pharmacy, milk for insomniacs,never!
Milk, particularly low fat milk wakes you up. " Milk deliver tyrosine to​ the brain, which in​ turn triggers production of​ dopamine and norepinephrine, stimulating you to​ think more quickly, and accurately".

So how can sleep problems in​ the elderly be resolved? Firstly, a​ warm comfortable noise free environment, regular exercise, good diet, no heavy meals at​ night, no eating late at​ night, relaxation therapies, aromatherapy, herbs like valerian may be taken as​ a​ tea, provided that your doctor has been consulted. Homeopathy is​ the cheapest, the least invasive, the most gentle, with no side effects, and no interactions with any drugs you may be taking. No homeopathic remedies are recommended here for it​ is​ important to​ consult a​ qualified homeopath in​ order to​ achieve the best outcome for the patient.

Sleep problems in​ the elderly should be thoroughly investigated before any medications are prescribed. Unfortunately this is​ not always the procedure that is​ adopted, for often a​ script is​ written for what has been described as​ insomnia by the elderly person, however, such is​ mostly not the case, but rather it's a​ normal progression of​ a​ resetting of​ the circadian rhythms which requires education, not medication.

Provided that there is​ no evidence of​ disease of​ the central nervous system, such as​ dementia, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic brain damage , and chronic pain, then sleep problems in​ the elderly are far better managed conservatively.

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