Senior Sleep Struggles

senior sleep struggles

Some seniors may struggle with getting a full eight hours of sleep. We will help you learn more about how vital sleep is to help seniors, why they are experiencing issues with sleeping, how they can sleep better.

Senior Sleep Struggles

Healthy seniors are recommended to sleep at least eight hours per night. However, our sleep patterns may change as we age. We may experience a few shifts in sleeping patterns, such as, waking up earlier in the morning, feeling tired earlier in the evening, interrupted sleep, making it harder to fall back asleep, and in some cases, insomnia.

Typically, these changes are caused by changes in lifestyle, stress levels, unhealthy habits, and a deficiency of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Those symptoms related to sleep are also exacerbated by and intensified with age. Some medications can also govern sleep cycles and create adverse side effects for Anchorage seniors and the quality of their sleep.

If you take any of the following medications, then be sure to contact your healthcare provider to ask if there are any interactions with your sleeping cycles:

  • Anti-Arrhythmics – these medications help with heart rhythms and function as an alternative to pacemakers
  • Beta-Blockers – these are high blood pressure medications
  • Diuretics – these help with blood pressure and with toileting frequency issues
  • Pain medications that have a significant caffeine amount

There are also a few other sleeping conditions that can occur. Sleep apnea is a health concern that affects your breathing, making it start and stop abnormally, instead of inhaling and exhaling at a healthy rate. It can also cause snoring.

Restless leg syndrome is another common condition in elderly populations. It causes leg discomfort and pain, which can keep you tossing and turning all night if left untreated.

Why is Sleep so Important During the Senior Years?

Seniors need a full and complete night’s sleep in order to maintain optimum cognitive functions, which can significantly affect your emotional, social, and physical health status. As you age, you are more susceptible to health diseases, chronic conditions, your bones may become increasingly fragile, and you may be more likely to fall and be injured.

Your sleep cycle also sets the rhythm for your body to jumpstart your immune system to fight diseases, infections, and repair itself. Many colds could be prevented, and decreased in length, simply by improving the quality and amount of your sleep.

Your spine also decompresses as you sleep, relieving itself of the stress placed on your spinal cord throughout the day. This is why it is so essential to make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep restfully and adequately every night.

By protecting your brain’s health through sleep, you will be able to remember better and feel more refreshed in the morning, ready to tackle another day full of activities and excitement.

How Can You Sleep Better?

If you find yourself sleeping for 8 hours, and waking up feeling unrested, that is an indicator of poor quality sleep. Take some time to learn about how you may experiment with your sleep time sweet spot to ensure that you get an adequate amount and quality of sleep every night.

Create Routines and Eat Foods That Support Sleep

Secondly, getting your body used to a routine is essential. The time that you get up in the morning and the time that you go to bed each night, and around when you eat your meals, should remain the same, day after day. Also, eating healthy foods will aid your body to adapt to a more robust sleep cycle. Although, eating plenty of food does help, eating a lot of food before bed hinders the night ahead. Instead, drinking a few carbs and a warm glass of milk would practically send you to sleep.

You may also consider eating nutritious foods that help you sleep better, such as figs, almonds and walnuts, dark chocolate, bananas, cherries, fatty fish, and tofu and meats that are rich in protein. You can also sip on relaxing teas, such as herbal, chamomile, ginger, or lavender tea that stimulate relaxation and help you sleep better. Ask your healthcare provider about foods and beverages that you should try to help you sleep better.

Exercise and Move Around

Thirdly, making sure that you exercise is critical to a good night’s sleep. If you don’t move enough throughout the day, then you may contribute to having a restless sleep at night. Attending daily activities and walking a few laps around the hallways are a few good ways to help keep you moving.

Soak Up The Sunshine

Fourthly, are you getting enough sunlight? Having regular exposure to the sun can regulate the amount of melatonin that you have in your body. Your melatonin levels may decrease as you age, but getting out in the sun can help replenish your body’s inventory of essential vitamins, hormones, and stimulators. Because winters in Alaska have less opportunity to do so it’s even more important to schedule this into your day.

How Can Baxter Senior Living Help You?

Here at our Anchorage assisted living community , we help our assisted living, and dementia care residents improve their quality and amount of sleep. We offer a community that is quiet, relaxed, and peaceful for times of rest. We also provide our residents and their families with the peace of mind that they are taken care of by compassionate and expert caregivers, which can alleviate tension and stress. We also host daily activities, exercise classes, social gatherings, and serve delicious, health-conscious food options. Our senior caregivers also help our residents with medication management, staying on top of their medications and treatment plans, and visiting healthcare providers. As a result, are seniors take their medications on time and practice healthy habits to manage their chronic conditions. We also coordinate reassessment plans when circumstances change and improve. We hope that this information is useful to you and that you get a good night’s sleep tonight.




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