How to Prevent Insomnia in the Elderly

How to Address Insomnia in Aging Adults

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As people age, their sleeping habits tend to change. There are many factors that contribute to changes in a senior’s sleep schedule, including lowered production of growth hormones. Insomnia is one of the leading causes of inadequate sleep in older adults, and it includes an inability to fall asleep at night, daytime drowsiness, and other issues. To address sleep disorders in the elderly, family caregivers can take the following steps. 

Learn the Signs of Sleep Disorders

Because sleep habits naturally change with age, your loved one may not realize his or her poor sleep patterns are serious. Be on the lookout for common signs of insomnia. The most important symptom is the inability to fall asleep at night, even when tired. Your loved one may also feel sleepy or irritated during the day and have difficulty concentrating and controlling emotions. Due to insomnia, your loved one may not feel fresh in the morning, and he or she has to turn to sleeping pills to get any rest. When you notice these symptoms, it’s time to adjust your loved one’s sleeping habits. 

Caring for older adults with insomnia can be a difficult task. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Grand Rapids, MI, in-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Understand the Causes of Insomnia

When seniors experience sleep disorders like insomnia, it’s important to identify the cause. There are many physical, mental, and environmental factors that can lead to insomnia, including stress, depression, chronic anxiety, trauma, prescription medications, and underlying health conditions. For example, when insomnia is caused by depression, boosting emotional health may enhance sleep as well. If it’s caused by anxiety, meditating for ten minutes before bed may calm the mind enough to sleep. 

Check for Poor Sleep Habits

While physical and mental issues like menopause and anxiety can lead to insomnia, sometimes the cause is environmental in nature. If your loved one’s bedroom environment is inadequate, it could have a big impact on his or her sleep. At night, the bedroom should be dark, clean, and quiet. The temperature should be mild so your loved one does not wake up in the middle of the night feeling too hot or too cold. Your loved one shouldn’t eat large meals or drink alcohol just before bed, and he or she should also turn off all screens at least an hour prior to sleep, as the light from the screens might interfere with sleep schedules. 

Chronic insomnia can dull the senses, making everyday activities difficult to perform. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Grand Rapids home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.

Develop a Healthy Bedtime Routine

Many people develop poor sleep habits over time, and it can be challenging to break them. If your loved one wants to beat insomnia, he or she needs to start developing healthy bedtime habits. Encourage your loved one to maintain a consistent sleep schedule by waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day of the week. If noise is keeping your loved one up at night, he or she can try wearing earplugs or using a white noise machine. Seniors should also consider soothing bedtime activities. Some may benefit from meditating before sleep, while others respond well to reading a book for 30 minutes. If your loved one develops a healthy bedtime routine, the body will recognize the new patterns and keep insomnia at bay.

Seniors can lower their risk of insomnia by making healthy lifestyle choices. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a Grand Rapids caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your elderly loved one, give us a call at 616-243-0835 today.