Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

Sleep is sometimes elusive for seniors in Joliet

Sleep is sometimes elusive for seniors in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportOptimal daytime alertness requires about eight hours of sleep in every 24-hour period. We all know that, but for many millions of people, it “ain’t necessarily so…” Picture a TV commercial of an adult coming awake with a gentle smile, sitting up and stretching, thinking of the exciting day ahead. Well, that’s TV. In reality, some people struggle with sleep their entire lives. Others can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. But as people age, sleep can become a nightly aspiration that is frustratingly just out of reach.

For seniors, there are four common symptoms of sleep problems: waking too early, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, and trouble staying sleep.

Reasons for poor sleep in the elderly are chronic medical illnesses, medication effects, psychiatric disorders, primary sleep disorders, social changes, poor sleep habits and/or circadian rhythm shifts. And this is not just inconvenient; there can be serious potential problems. Loss of sleep can lead to falls and accidents. Sleep apnea may have serious cardiovascular, pulmonary and central nervous system effects.

For all of these reasons, sleep problems in elderly people should not be brushed aside; seniors with such dilemmas should be properly evaluated and treated.

According to helpguide.org, no matter what age, a person’s sleeping well is essential to physical health and emotional well-being. In fact for seniors, a good night’s sleep is especially important because it improves concentration and memory formation. It allows the body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day, and it refreshes the immune system which helps to prevent disease.

A National Sleep Foundation poll of older adults found a close relationship between the health and quality of life of older adults, and their sleep quantity and quality. It found that the better the health of older adults, the more likely they are to sleep well. Conversely, the greater the number of diagnosed medical conditions, the more likely they are to experience sleep problems.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends six tips for better sleep:

  • exercise in the afternoon,
  • avoid stimulants such as caffeine for at least three or four hours before bed,
  • go to bed at the same time every night and wake at the same time each morning,
  • use the bed only for sleep or sexual activity,
  • avoid alcohol in the later evening, and
  • try taking naps, but remember that sleep in the daytime affects sleep at night.

If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do a quiet relaxing activity such as reading or listening to music. When you feel sleepy, get back in bed and try again. If not successful in 20 minutes, repeat.

And it won’t hurt to remember Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

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