There are many things that can affect a senior’s ability to sleep soundly and get the rest they need. Getting adequate sleep is very important for the body’s immune system, fighting infection and disease, physical health, mental functioning and coping with stress. If a senior isn’t getting enough sleep, it should be brought to the doctor’s attention.
1- Aging Naturally Changes Sleep Patterns
It’s common for seniors to naturally get tired earlier, wake up earlier, and sometimes wake up in the night due to natural changes in their brain as they age. As adults age, the brain’s “master clock center ” (the suprachiasmatic nucleus) leads to changes in the senior’s circadian rhythms, which influence things like when the body feels sleepy or alert.
2- Health Conditions
There are numerous health conditions that can interrupt a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and nocturia are just a few. Many seniors have multiple health conditions at once, which add up to a big risk for disturbed sleep.
A number of medications can interfere with sleep. Talk to the doctor or pharmacist about whether any of your medications may be interrupting yours.
Not only can pain contribute to sleeplessness, but sleeplessness can in turn, make pain worse, which can quickly turn into a vicious cycle.
5- Caring for a Loved One Throughout the Night
Being a family caregiver can be wonderfully rewarding, but when sleep is disrupted every night in order to care for your family loved one’s needs, it can severely impact your health.
How Elder Care can Support a Senior’s Sleep
Elder care services can help seniors and family caregivers who are struggling to get enough shut-eye to feel and function at their best.
Regular Exercise Support
Elder care aides can walk with seniors routinely, a practice that many seniors find enjoyable, motivating and reassuring. Elder care aides can help with transportation to the pool, gym or balance class, strolls through the park or out in the garden. Regular activity has been shown to promote better sleep, and getting outside for sunshine and fresh air only enhances the effect.
Consistent Sleeping Schedule and Bedtime Routine
An important step in good sleep “hygiene”, as they say, is to get up and go to bed at the same time each day. Many seniors find this to be much easier with the assistance of an elder care aide, who can show up at the same time each morning and assist with morning routines, personal care, walks, breakfast or other needs.
A bedtime routine can be especially powerful when you include a few soothing features to get your body and mind ready to rest.
- Allow time to wind down with the lights dimmed
- Listen to calming music
- Drink some chamomile tea
- Enjoy relaxing aromatherapy
- Take a warm bath
- Gently rub lotion on your back, legs or feet
Overnight Assistance for Loved Ones
Some families find that when elder care can take care of a senior’s needs during the night, the family caregiver is able to get much better sleep and find themselves in a much better health, spirits and position for caregiving. Savvy family caregivers may arrange for the night elder care aide to take care of the laundry, clean the cat box or put away the dishes while they are there, which can buy valuable time and energy for the next day.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring elder care in Phoenix, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!