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5 Age-Related Reasons Seniors Have Trouble Sleeping

Millions of older adults can attest to the fact that sleeping patterns change with age.

An elderly woman having trouble sleeping. Probably because there is a light on in the room.

Millions of older adults can attest to the fact that sleeping patterns change with age. Some seniors cannot fall asleep easily, while others wake up frequently throughout the night. The number of hours of restful sleep may have decreased. There are many possible reasons for this change.

1. Circadian Rhythm Changes

The body’s circadian rhythms are governed by melatonin, a hormone that prepares the body for sleep when the sun sets. As the evening progresses, people normally begin feeling tired and go to bed. However, some researchers believe circadian rhythms weaken as adults age. The reason for the problem may involve insufficient melatonin production. As such, some seniors may be helped by taking supplements. However, other factors may be at play, so it’s best to consult a doctor before taking any supplements.

2. Insufficient Physical Activity

When older adults retire, they often become less physically active. If seniors don’t engage in sufficient physical activity throughout the day, their bodies don’t feel fatigued at night. Thus, they may have difficulty falling or staying asleep. For overall health and wellbeing, healthcare providers recommend seniors strive to get 150 minutes of exercise weekly. Simply taking daily walks can increase balance, flexibility, and strength in addition to giving the body a reason to sleep.

3. Emotional Distress

Seniors may face various challenging life events that cause depression, anxiety, and stress. They may lose significant others or long-time friends. Medical conditions may cause the loss of certain physical abilities. Accidents may cause injuries that require extensive recovery time. Experiencing one or more of these kinds of traumatic events may lead to emotional stress that interferes with normal sleep patterns. Seniors may need counseling to help them learn healthier coping mechanisms. Some may require anti-anxiety medication to help them sleep.

For seniors with anxiety that makes it difficult to sleep through the night, having a professional caregiver close by can provide a sense of comfort. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Winnipeg families trust TheKey to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

4. Restless Legs Syndrome

This syndrome is also referred to as Willis-Ekbom disease. Restless legs syndrome is commonly considered a sleep disorder, as those who develop it report the symptoms start when they’re attempting to fall asleep. Symptoms include aching, throbbing, and subcutaneous crawling sensations. While symptoms are commonly restricted to the legs, some individuals feel these sensations in one or both arms, the chest, or the head. For some, increasing physical activity helps. Others are advised to stop smoking and quit drinking caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Hot baths, heating pads, or massages might also help. When seniors cannot find relief, physicians may prescribe medications.

A home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support if your loved one needs help making healthy lifestyle changes that enhance his or her ability to sleep well. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Winnipeg, MB, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to TheKey. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Chronic Pain

Arthritis, autoimmune disorders, gastroesophageal reflux, and other ailments can cause chronic pain that makes falling and staying asleep difficult. Living with chronic pain often leads to anxiety and depression, which can exacerbate the problem. Seniors living with daily pain need to consult with their healthcare providers to create plans that alleviate their symptoms.

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep difficulties, you may be able to help him or her sleep better and enhance his or her overall wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. TheKey is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Rely on the professionals at TheKey to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one.

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