Sleep Disorders in the Elderly

sleeping disorders in the elderly

As we age, our bodies change and often creating sleep disorders in the elderly. Doctors suggest that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, yet there are many reasons why this doesn’t happen for many seniors.

How Deal With Sleep Disorders In The Elderly

Sleep disorders in the elderly are common; but, there are ways you may be able to avoid feeling exhausted and get a better night’s sleep. Here are a few suggestions to help get a better night’s sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine – many seniors enjoy coffee and, once retired, often sit and drink many cups throughout the day. It’s important to limit or completely avoid caffeine as much as possible.
  • Keep a Regular Schedule – as we age we tend to not worry about what time it is and stay up late, take naps, or sleep in late. While this is a great benefit of aging it can cause problems with getting a solid night’s sleep, especially if someone has or is caring for someone with dementia.
  • Rule Out Medications – some medications can affect sleep patterns. Ask your doctor if any medications could be affecting your sleep; either by creating sleepiness during the day or keeping you awake at night.
  • Get Moving – it’s important to stay active, at any age. Getting outdoors as often as possible and safely moving around as much as possible will help tire you out at the end of the day.
  • Rule Out Depression – a major side effect of depression is disruption of sleep patterns, creating both insomnia and/or excessive fatigue. See your physician to rule out depression.

Scientific Facts About Sleep Disorders in the Elderly

There are science based reasons why sleep disorders in the elderly are common. Based upon a study provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, here are some common facts about sleep disorders in the elderly:

  • A healthy 70 year old can commonly wake up several times throughout the night, even though they have no diseases or disorders.
  • REM and Deep sleep is how a body truly gets well rested; however, seniors often have difficulty reaching deep sleep because of changes in their bodies that create disturbances during typical sleep hours.
  • Even from the early onset of dementia can start affecting sleep. If you notice a change in sleep patterns mention this to your physician so they can rule out any disorder; especially if your body seems to be confusing days and nights.
  • BPH & incontinence can be cause for seniors to wake up often, interrupting solid sleep patterns.
  • Stimulants are a large cause for people to have trouble sleeping. It’s important to avoid nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and pharmaceutical stimulants.

Beat Sleep Disorders in the Elderly with Diet

Dr. Allen Christianson suggests eating certain foods to help combat sleeping disorders in the elderly or anybody having difficulty sleeping. This video on Dr. Oz explains some quick & easy ways to turn your diet into an excellent way to help you sleep better.


Photo by WarmSleepy