Common Causes of Sleep Problems in Older Adults

As individuals get older, their sleeping patterns tend to change. They go to bed earlier and wake up earlier or sleep less deeply. That’s a normal part of aging. However, if your elderly loved one is waking up tired or experiencing disturbed sleep, this is a cause for concern. Whether your parent or relative lives with you or they reside in a Boynton Beach assisted living community, it’s important that you know some of the underlying causes of sleep problems.

Insomnia should not be seen as a normal part of aging. Sleep plays an important role in both physical and mental health. It boosts the immune system, allows the body to repair cell damage, and improves memory formation and concentration. When older people don’t sleep well, they are more likely to develop problems with attention and memory as well as excessive daytime sleepiness. They are also at greater risk of falling in the night. What’s more, poor sleep can lead to a number of health problems including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Why Elderly People Often Have Insomnia

There are several reasons why seniors have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. These include:

  • Pain or health issues. Arthritis, osteoporosis, heartburn, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease can all interfere with sleep.
  • Sleep disorders. Sleep apnea, snoring and Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) tend to occur more frequently in older adults.
  • Lack of sunlight. Exposure to sunlight helps to balance melatonin levels and the sleep-wake cycle. If your loved one isn’t getting at least a couple of hours of sunlight each day, their body won’t get into a proper rhythm.
  • Older people tend to be on more medications than younger people. The drugs and their side effects can cause problems with sleep.
  • Many life changes come in later life and these can lead to stress. If your loved is struggling to adjust to retirement, the death of a spouse, or moving into a Boynton Beach assisted living facility, it won’t be surprising if they’re finding it difficult to sleep.
  • Lack of exercise. Living a sedentary lifestyle can make elderly people either feel sleepy all the time or never feel sleepy.
  • Lack of social interaction. Usually work, family activities, and social events keep people busy and help them to prepare for sleep. If your parent or relative is retired and/or living alone, sleep may be hard to come by.

Helping Your Loved One to Improve Their Sleep

Older people can often develop better sleeping habits if they make changes to their environment, address health issues, and adjust their daytime activities. It often takes some trial and error to find the combination of changes that will be most effective. If simple lifestyle changes don’t make a difference, you should encourage your loved one to talk to their doctor about their sleep difficulties.

Consider the Comfortable Environment at a Boynton Beach Assisted Living Community

If your loved one would benefit from assisted living, talk to them about joining our Boynton Beach assisted living community. We provide safe, comfortable surroundings that will help to reduce their stress while keeping them engaged and occupied. Contact us today to chat with a member of our staff.