Ageing and Sleep patterns during old age
Ageing is accompanied with a shift in ‘Sleep Architecture’ and ‘Sleep Patterns’. Irregular sleep patterns are quite common among elderly people because of multiple reasons causing a variety of sleep complaints and sleep disorders. Typically sleep becomes more fragmented and lighter with an increase in the number of arousals during the night sometimes causing a decline in deeper stages of sleep and rapid eye movement (REM). Visit https://www.medicaresupplementplans2020.com/ to plan for 2020 healthcare insurance needs.
Although 7-9 hrs sleep a day is enough to lead a healthy life however this period gets prolonged due to these disturbances in sleep patterns. As per a study, 13 per cent male and 36 per cent female in their old age take on an average of 30 minutes to go to sleep. The possible explanation could be a decreasing level of melatonin,- a hormone responsible for promoting sleep. This could be further worsened by the rising level of anxiety, medication, frequent urination, and loneliness. Irregular sleep can cause many health related problems like heart disease, diabetes, weight problems, loss of memory, excessive daytime sleep and more nighttime falls.
Common Sleep-related disorders:
Insomnia: More than half of the older age people are suffering from Insomnia. Insomnia could be one of the following conditions:
- Lying in the bed for longer than periods like 30-45 minutes.
- Waking up multiple times during the night.
- Waking up early, feeling lethargic and tired all day. Late afternoon Naps.
Sleep Apnea or Snoring: Both are disordered breathing conditions and thus disturb sleep in the night multiple times.
Restless Leg Syndrome: This is a Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) where the patient feels an irresistible urge to move the muscle.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Diabetes, Asthma and other immune disorders are a particular cause of sleep disturbances.
These Sleep-related disorders are also common among adults however the likelihood of occurrence increases during old age and tend to become severe.
Tips for getting back into your regular sleep cycle:
- Go to bed earlier and maintain your sleep schedule, make a journal.
- Keep your bedroom quite, dark and calm.
- Take a warm bath before bedtime
- Avoiding taking naps in the afternoon or take short naps in the early afternoon.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol etc.
- Regulate the use of liquid or fluids at night.
- Exercise or stay active during the day
- Get under the Sun and Warm yourself Up
- Limit use of electronic devices before going to bed.
- Try to increase our melatonin levels naturally by improving diet and lifestyle.
In some extreme cases, medication can help however make sure that you do not depend on sleeping pills or sleeping aid as their long term use is not recommended.