Sleep Issues

You may think that poor sleep is a normal part of aging. It’s not. Most healthy older adults report few or no sleep problems. Yes, sleep patterns change as we get older, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day is not a part of normal aging. If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor or a sleep specialist. There are treatments that can help.


Additional Sleep Tips

  • Eight hours is considered to be the optimal sleep duration for elderly adults. Due to the natural changes with the circadian rhythm associated with aging, this may shift to going to bed earlier at night and waking earlier in the morning.
  • Late afternoon naps can reduce the ability for someone to sleep through the night and increases the chance for insomnia. If an older adult must nap, it should be earlier in the day.
  • The most common causes for insomnia and other sleep issues in older adults are a poor sleeping environment and poor habits during the day.
    * Regular aerobic exercise earlier in the day avoids the risk of becoming sedentary, which negatively affects sleep.
    * Go outside during the day. Bright sunlight regulates melatonin and sleep-wake cycles. Read our Sun Protection tips to make sure any outing is safe and healthy. 
    * Only use the bedroom for sleeping. By not working or watching TV in the bedroom during the day, the room will gradually be associated only with sleep and restfulness, making it easier to fall asleep at night.
    * A light snack before bed (crackers, cereal, yogurt or milk) satisfies hunger without introducing the discomfort of a large or spicy meal.
     * When going to bed, avoid stimulants like caffeine or nicotine and turn off the TV.
  • Some medications can influence sleep. Talk to your doctor to explore all options to ensure that your medicine is the best for maintaining healthy lifestyle and sleep patterns.

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