Few things in life are as desirable as a good night’s sleep. However, many older people find night-time as the worst part of the day. The sleep pattern changes as we grow old. The duration of sleep is shortened and the quality of sleep also becomes poorer. In addition, sleep may also be disturbed as a result of mental or physical illness.
THE EFFECT OF AGING ON SLEEP:
- As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger.
- Change in the sleeping patters occurs.
- Older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in the deeper stages.
- The time taken to fall asleep increases
- Older people tend to wake up more often during their sleep
- Physical or mental illness disturbs sleeping patterns.
- Sometimes the medication give to the older people for various diseases affects their sleep.
- The body of senior people feels tired early in the evening making them to fall asleep sooner and wake up earlier.
- With age, prevalence of insomnia also increases reducing sleep.
- Snoring increases which again disturbs sleep.
- The prevalence of restless legs syndrome increases with age and causes an irritable urge to move the limb which makes it difficult to sleep for some people at night.
- Chronic medical problems increase as we age which increase the sleep problems.
- Medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, reOld Age Slnal failure, respiratory diseases such as asthma, and immune disorders are all associated with sleep problems and disorders.
Getting a good night’s sleep can make a big difference in the quality of life. The following are a few suggestions in this regard:
- Follow a regular schedule of going to sleep and getting up at the same time each day.
- Moderate physical activity 2 to 4 hours before bedtime may improve your sleep
- To adjust your internal sleep clock, get some exposure to natural light in the morning and afternoon each day
- Avoid drinking tea or coffee late in the evening and if you like a drink before bed, a glass of warm milk may help. Alcohol and smoking can make it harder to stay asleep.
- A lamp that’s easy to turn on and a telephone by your bedside may be helpful.
- The sleeping room should be dark, well-ventilated and quiet.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same things each night to tell your body that it’s time to sleep like watching TV, reading a book or soaking the feet in warm water.
- Try not to worry about your sleep. Some people find that playing mental games is helpful.
- If snoring is keeping you up, try earplugs, a white-noise machine, or separate bedrooms.
- Limit the use of sleeping aids and sleeping pills.
- Satisfy your hunger prior to bed.
- Avoid big meals or spicy food just before bed time
- Take minimum liquid before bed time.
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