Whether it is yourself or a loved one, insomnia has a detrimental effect on all those around it. Recent published research has shown as much as 50% of individuals over the age of 65 battles with insomnia on a nightly basis. Normal signs of insomnia include: taking a long time to fall asleep, frequently waking throughout the night, waking up early and being unable to return to sleep, and daytime fatigue. Although insomnia is common in all ages, it can have more detrimental effects on the elderly, including depression, anxiety, delirium, equilibrium variations, and even memory issues. Being aware of the symptoms and making some minor adjustments in habits and environment may make the task of being a caregiver significantly easier in regulating sleep patterns of loved ones. Below are a few tips you may wish to follow to help avert insomnia for yourself or for a loved one.[quote_right]…50% of individuals over the age of 65 battles with insomnia on a nightly basis…[/quote_right]
- First, and most obvious, be active during the day. Make sure the person experiencing insomnia has at least 2-4 hours of stimulating activity (physical and cognitive preferably) each day. The more active we are during the day, the better we sleep at night.
- Eliminate daytime naps altogether if possible. If a nap is needed, limit it to 30 minutes or less, and make sure it is at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Use the bedroom only for sleeping. If work or hobbies are normally performed in the bedroom, move those activities to another room. Our brains can associate the activity with the room making it more difficult to sleep where you work.
- Keep the bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. As we age or bodies are more sensitive to light and sound.
- Do not eat or drink large amounts as bedtime nears. Large meals and drinks may make us drowsy at first, but if close to bedtime, often it increases the likelihood of needing to use the bathroom multiple times during the night.
- Come up with a bedtime routine which is relaxing. Quite often reading a book, meditation, listening to gentle music or similar activities before bed allow the body and mind to better prepare for sleep.
- Most important for caregivers, develop a daily routine for your loved one, and remain as consistent as possible. Most research agrees that six consecutive days performing the same routine allows the body to “reset” its rhythm, and allows for better sleep habits.
We at Centennial Adultcare Centers have been assisting caregivers and members develop and maintain healthy active daily routines which in turn help alleviate insomnia for more than 29 years. Contact us or call us at 615-383-3399 in Nashville, 615-713-1339 in Murfreesboro, or 615-288-8189 in Mt. Juliet for information on how we can assist you or your loved one today!