Sleep Like a Baby: Quality Sleep Begins Here

August 25, 2020

A Good Night's Sleep
Getting enough sleep helps you stay healthy and alert. But many older people don’t sleep well. If you’re always sleepy, it may be time to see a doctor. You shouldn’t wake up every day feeling tired.

Sleep And Aging
Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as young adults—7 to 9 hours each night. But seniors tend to go to sleep earlier and get up earlier than when they were younger. Older people may nap more during the day, which can sometimes make it hard to fall asleep at night.

There are two kinds of sleep—REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. We dream mostly during REM sleep and have the deepest sleep during non-REM sleep. As people get older, they spend less time in deep sleep, which may be why older people are often light sleepers.

Sleep Problems
There are many reasons why older people may not get enough sleep at night. Feeling sick or being in pain can make it hard to sleep. Napping during the day can disrupt sleep at night. Some medicines can keep you awake. No matter the reason, if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, the next day you may:
Be irritable
Have memory problems or be forgetful
Feel depressed
Have more falls or accidents
Feel very sleepy during the day

Insomnia
Insomnia is the most common sleep problem in adults age 60 and older. People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia can last for days, months, or even years. 

There are many causes of insomnia. Some of them you can control, but others you can’t. For example, if you are excited about a new activity or worrying over your bills, you may have trouble sleeping. Sometimes insomnia may be a sign of other problems. Or, it could be a side effect of a medication or an illness.

Often, being unable to sleep becomes a habit. Some people worry about not sleeping even before they get into bed. This may even make insomnia worse.

Some older adults who have trouble sleeping use over-the-counter sleep aids. Using prescription medicines for a short time might help. But remember, medicines aren’t a cure for insomnia. Developing healthy habits at bedtime may help you get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is another serious sleep disorder. A person with sleep apnea has short pauses in breathing while sleeping. These pauses may happen many times during the night. If not treated, sleep apnea can lead to other problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, or memory loss.

You can have sleep apnea and not even know it. But your loud snoring and gasping for air can keep other people awake. Feeling sleepy during the day and being told you are snoring loudly at night could be signs that you have sleep apnea.

If you think you have sleep apnea, see a doctor who knows about this sleep problem. You may need to learn to sleep in a position that keeps your airways open. Sometimes a medical device called Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP), a dental device, or surgery can help.

Safe Sleeping
Try to set up a safe and restful place to sleep. Make sure you have smoke alarms on each floor of your house or apartment. Lock the outside doors before going to bed. Other ideas for a safe night’s sleep are:
Keep a telephone with emergency phone numbers by your bed.
Have a good lamp within reach that turns on easily.
Put a glass of water next to the bed in case you wake up thirsty.
Use nightlights in the bathroom and hall.
Don’t smoke, especially in bed.
Remove area rugs so you won’t trip if you get out of bed in the middle of the night.
Don’t fall asleep with a heating pad on; it may burn.

Sweet Dreams
There are some tricks to help you fall asleep. You don’t really have to count sheep—but you could try counting slowly to 100.. Other people find that relaxing their body puts them to sleep. You might start by telling yourself that your toes feel light as feathers and then work your way up the rest of the body saying the same words. You may drift off to sleep before getting to the top of your head.

If you feel tired and unable to do your activities for more than 2 or 3 weeks, you may have a sleep problem. Talk to your doctor about changes you can make to get a better night’s sleep.

While we can't guarantee you a perfect night's sleep, we can offer you a maintenance-free and worry-free lifestyle at Abernethy Laurels.  No more worries about taking care of a yard or exterior maintenance of a house.  No more hassles about getting repairs done around the house.  Abernethy Laurels will take care of the chores while you can concentrate on doing the things you enjoy.  And with less worries, who knows, you just might sleep better. 

To learn more about Abernethy Laurels, call Rob at 828-465-8519 or Alora at 828-465-8552. Visit our website at www.abernethylaurels.org.