Senior citizens need just as much sleep as a younger adult. The need for sleep doesn’t decrease. What does happen, however, is that seniors start to have a harder time sleeping. You may find your parents going to bed earlier and rising before dawn. You might find they can’t seem to stay asleep for more than a few hours at a time.
Certain medical conditions can impact a senior’s ability to sleep through the night. Once a medical issue has been ruled out, there are things you can do to help them get a solid night’s sleep.
Talk to a Doctor First
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can make it hard for a senior to get enough sleep. They fall asleep normally, but soon snoring starts. In time, breathing stops and then starts back up. It’s a common condition, but it needs to be diagnosed so that a treatment plan is determined. Left untreated, there is an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems.
Some medications may also cause insomnia. If your mom or dad is on a medication that has insomnia as a potential side effect, it can lead to problems sleeping through the night. Switching medications can help.
After ruling out medical causes for sleep difficulties, you can switch to finding ways to make sure your parent gets enough sleep. Here are some tips.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Before Bed
A few hours before bed, your parents need to avoid all caffeinated beverages. Alcohol can also mess with sleep patterns. Depending on your parent’s preferred bedtime, they should aim to avoid these drinks a few hours before going to bed.
Look at the Mattress
How old is your parent’s mattress? If it’s old, it simply may not be comfortable for a full night. A new mattress that supports all of the body may help. Mattresses today come rolled up in boxes, so you can have one shipped to the home and set up by yourself. These mattresses contain inches of memory foam and gel that supports and cradles the body while you sleep.
Create a Soothing Bedtime Ritual
A soothing bedtime ritual can help cue the body to prepare for a night’s sleep. A warm bath with a cup of herbal tea an hour before bed is one thing that may work. Your parent may find it works best if they go to bed, read for half an hour, and turn on white noise when they get tired. Fans, sounds of nature, and soft classical music can all help ease the body into a sound sleep.
Some find that aromatherapy helps the body falling asleep. Scents that relax include lavender, clary sage, chamomile, and sandalwood are all scents that are believed to help with sleep.
Get Enough Exercise
Make sure your parent gets enough exercise during the day. If they’ve expended energy, they’ll be sleepier. Senior care aides can make sure your parent is active. Learn other benefits of senior care services by calling our senior home care agency.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Mt. Lebanon PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.