Sleep Care

Seniors and Sleep

As we age many things can affect how we sleep. Sleep is very important; it can increase our ability to concentrate, help memory formation, and can increase our immune function. Lack of sleep can cause problems such as poor mood, memory and concentration problems, nighttime falls, excessive daytime sleepiness, and poor quality of life. After 50 our sleep patterns begin to change and it can become increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Biologically our sleep patterns shift as we age, as we spend less and less time throughout the night in stage N3 (deep) sleep, and more of the night in stage N2 and REM sleep. Many doctors attribute these sleep problems to a lack of melatonin produced by the body. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that increased exposure to sunlight (approximately 2hrs a day) can offset the lack of melatonin, causing seniors to sleep better at night. For seniors, two of the most common sleep problems seen are insomnia and advanced sleep phase syndrome. When the elderly experience insomnia, a lack of sleep during the night, it is often due to a lack of the deep restful sleep we need. This lack of deep sleep and increase in arousals often means we spend more time in bed awake and less time asleep. As we age it can also be harder for us to return to sleep once we have woken up. The need to use the restroom frequently during the night

buy generic viagra online usa / canada pharmacy council / / cialis on alcohol / cialis 48 hours

can make this problem even worse. The second condition that people experience as they age is known as advanced sleep phase syndrome. Advanced sleep phase syndrome is simply the problem of falling asleep early in the night and waking early in the morning. With this problem our body’s biological clock shifts forward several hours. People who have this problem will often fall asleep around 7 or 8 PM and wake between 3 and 4 AM. This disorder is mostly caused by our body’s lack of sensitivity to natural sleep/wake cues (such as light and sound) and a decrease in hormone production as we age. Many physical disorders can cause problems with your sleep. Menopause and arthritis can cause discomfort at night and increase restlessness. Diabetes and enlarged prostates can cause you to have to get up several times a night to use the bathroom. Diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can lead to anxiety and stress, making it harder to fall asleep. Sleeping disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia, and movement disorders can cause nighttime discomfort, lack of oxygen at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Common problems that disrupt sleep: • Poor sleep hygiene • Illness and Pain • Medications • Lack of exercise • Stress • Sleeping disorders • Frequent Naps Tips for better sleep: • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco; • Avoid sleeping interruptions; • Avoid liquids before bed, to decrease the need to urinate; • Avoid long naps late in the day; • Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it; • Exercise regularly; • Get regular exposure to sunlight, to increase melatonin; • Check medications for side effects associated with sleep; • Talk to your doctor about sleeping problems and get tested for sleeping disorders.

Sleep products and treatments now available at the Webstore, click here.