It’s that time of year again; “fall back” is coming. Even though it gives us what feels like an extra hour’s sleep, daylight savings time takes some adjustment. What better time than now to talk about sleep? Whether you get 40 winks like it’s your job or you’re an insomniac, let’s review some potential root causes—and solutions to the glorious gift of a good night’s sleep!
Here are some common sleep disturbances that impact seniors:
1. “Every light in the house is on” – Keep your sleeping area dim. Set lights to go on and off at specific times using automatic timers/dimmers. Be sure to stop surfing the web an hour before it’s time for bed, too (unless you’re shopping for senior living; then grab a coffee, and see what Edgewood is all about!). Trade in your night light and consider using motion-activated lights. They can safely light your path when you need to walk around at night without a bunch of extra light. These are also ideal if you’re concerned about falling.
2. Napping – Naps can be very recharging, but they can backfire if they’re too long. Excessive napping during the day can impair your sleep. If you must nap, try keeping it to around 30 minutes or less.
3. Noise –To get the sleep that you need, it’s important to protect your environment against unwanted sound for the duration of your night’s rest. Try shutting off the TV with an automatic timer or setting your cell phone notifications to silent mode.
4. Medications – Insomnia can be a side effect of many medications. Check your med list and talk to your doctor about reducing the number of medications you take, or ask if the time you take them could safely be adjusted. That could help your overall health and the quality of ZZZs too!
A kid will run any errand for you if you ask at bedtime. — Red Skelton
5. Dementia – Those with dementia may mix up day and night, and they may also experience sundowning. Mayo Clinic explains that “sundowning” may cause agitation, confusion, or even challenging behaviors in the later afternoons/early evenings. For those who have dementia, allow flexibility for the late afternoons—avoid scheduling important meetings or outings. As the time change approaches, encourage plenty of exercise and activity earlier in the day while also discouraging long naps.
6. Gotta go – Trips to the bathroom can keep you up when you should be sleeping. Think about drinking your 8 glasses earlier in the day. Ask your doctor if you can take diuretics, laxatives, or other meds that impact sleep at a time that won’t keep you up all night taking care of business.
7. Pain – Pain can keep you up and make you not sleep very soundly. If you are staying up at night because of pain, check with your doctor, or ask the helpful staff at CaringEdge about therapy services that could help.
8. Position – Side, back, tummy—repeat! Finding the perfect pose at night can be a struggle. If getting cozy is tough, find some fluffy pillows or a try firmer mattress, depending on your comfort level.
9. Movement – Want to fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more rested? Get moving! Physical activity improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration. It can be especially helpful if you’re able to exercise outdoors to let your body absorb natural sunlight during the daytime hours, too.
If you’re staying awake trying to find the best senior living solutions, look no further than Edgewood Healthcare! We can help ease your mind, and we even offer on-site therapy if you’re experiencing pain. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.