We all realize just how critical it is to get adequate sleep at night. Missing your "ZZZs" can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well being. Unfortunately the senior population is most at risk for insomnia an the resulting negative health effects. Approximately 50% of seniors report problems falling asleep or staying asleep. Factors such as poor sleep habits, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, untreated sleep disorders, and other medical issues can all contribute to sleeplessness. Unfortunately sleep problems can impair concentration and memory function. Senior adults who don't sleep well are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, depression, nighttime falls and increase sensitivity to pain.
How much sleep does the average senior need? Research supports that most healthy adults require between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function optimally.
How can you assist an elderly loved one in restoring a healthy sleep pattern?
1. Make certain they are engaged in physical and mental activities as much as possible during the day. Exercise releases endorphins that boost mood and reduce stress, allowing for a better night's sleep. Avoid prolonged daytime napping. Limit a nap to 30 to 45 minutes in the early afternoon.
2. Get some natural sunlight which regulates melatonin levels and the sleep/wake cycle.
3.Limit stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Minimize liquids before sleep--cut off 1.5 hours prior to bed. Avoid large or spicy meals before sleeping.
4. Prepare for bedtime by using dim lighting and turning off TV and other electronics at least one hour prior to turning in. Develop nightly rituals such as taking a soothing bath, playing relaxing music, praying or practicing mediation. Follow the same routine every night.
5.Make sure the bedroom is quiet, cool and dark.
6.Encourage a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking at approximately the same time, 7 days per week.
7. If worries are a source of sleeping problems, encourage your loved one to keep a journal to release thoughts before retiring for the night.
Do you frequently find your elderly loved one asleep during the day in their recliner? Have you ever considered enlisting the support of a professional companion caregiver to encourage them to make the most out of their days? Getting adequate stimulation is essential for overall mental and emotional health, not to mention a better night's sleep. Sometimes a new friend can make all the difference.
Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care assistance, Easy Living Services, Inc. We have supported families in their efforts to keep loved ones fulfilled since 1994. Call Easy Living Services to learn more about our exceptional companion caregivers. Don't wait another day! 770-442-8664 www.easylivingservices.com