One dilemma that can be found in home health care clients is a change in sleep patterns. This is a normal part of aging until it involves frequent waking and a feeling of tiredness every day. Then it is an unwelcome health problem.
As we become older, our sleep needs change. Older adults tend to become tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. They may also become light sleepers; more easily woken. Sleep is important for physical, mental and emotional reasons. As long as these areas are not being negatively impacted and the person is feeling well rested these changes are OK.
Frequent tossing and turning is not. Those who do not get enough sleep are more likely to have sensitivity to pain and use sleep aids. They also have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and weight problems if a lack of sleep is prolonged. The good news, as long as it is not due to a serious health condition (sleep apnea, RLS, depression, medication, etc.), is that some simple changes can bring back the good night’s rest you’re looking for.
- Follow a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid taking long naps during the day.
- Get regular exercise during the day.
- Go outside. Natural light helps to regulate the body’s sleep-awake cycle.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Restrict the bed for sleeping purposes. All other activities should be done in a chair or somewhere else.
Individuals who have trouble falling asleep even when they are tired, wake up feeling tired, are irritable or sleepy during the day, or have difficulty staying awake on a regular basis may have the signs of a sleep disorder. It is important to discuss any changes in sleep patterns with your doctor.
MAS provides home health care RI seniors rely on. If you or your loved one is experiencing difficulty sleeping be sure to mention it to you caregiver as well.