Elderly, who have poor sleep problem, may face slightly increased risk of having hardened brain blood vessels and oxygen-deprived brain tissue, finds a study. Those who have chronic problem of poor sleep were 27% more likely to have hardened arteries in the brain than those who had undisturbed sleep. To feel your best, you need a good night’s sleep, and you may be surprised that keeping yourself active and engaged, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve how well you sleep. Poor sleep hygiene – The most common cause of insomnia in the elderly is poor sleep habits or a poor sleep environment.
Sleep disorders - Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS),insomnia, and sleep-disordered breathing such as snoring and sleep apnea occur more frequently in older adults. Keep a regular sleep schedule – Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even on weekends.
Experiment with napping  Although napping too close to bedtime can interfere with nighttime sleeping, short naps early in the day can improve overall restfulness.
Expose yourself to sunlight – Bright sunlight increases melatonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles.
Limit your use of sleeping aids and sleeping pills - Many sleep aids have side-effects and are not meant for long-term use.
Combine sex and sleep – Sex and physical intimacy, such as hugging and massage, can lead to restful sleep.
Sleep disorders in the elderly involve any disruptive pattern of sleep such as problems with falling or staying asleep, excessive sleep, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep. Causes Sleeping problems are common in the elderly. Along with the physical changes that occur as we age, changes in our sleeping pattern is normal as we get older.

Seniors who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, lack of energy, memory and attention problems, depression and increased use of prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills.
Both the problems can further raise risk of stroke and cognitive impairment among older age people.
Andrew Lim, a neurologist and scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center in Toronto, said that fragmented sleep, which is sleep interrupted by regular episodes of awakenings or arousals, was associated with an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline. These people were also 31% more likely to have damage to their brain tissue owing to shortage of oxygen in comparison to who slept without any such issue.
Disturbed sleep, waking up tired every day, and other symptoms of insomnia are not a normal part of aging. You may also find yourself wanting to go to sleep earlier in the evening and then waking up very early in the morning unable to go back to sleep (a change caused by a decrease in certain sleep regulating hormones). Examples of poor sleep hygiene are irregular sleep hours, consumption of alcohol before bedtime, and too much daytime napping. In addition, many health conditions such as, a frequent need to urinate, arthritis, asthma, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, nighttime heartburn, menopause, and Alzheimer's can interfere with sleep. Combinations of drugs, as well as the side-effects of individual drugs, can impair sleep or even stimulate wakefulness.
Poor sleep hygiene (your sleep habits and your sleep environment) can be the main cause of low-quality sleep. In general, older people require less sleep, and their sleep is less deep than that experienced by the young. Like food and water, sleeping well is essential to one’s physical and emotional well-being.

Though mechanisms explaining the link are not known, one possibility is that interrupted sleep may affect the circulation of blood to their brain. Instead, poor sleep habits, untreated sleep disorders, medications, or medical problems can contribute to sleeplessness. Despite being a normal occurrence, insomnia, waking up tired, disturbed sleep and having trouble staying asleep are not a normal part of the aging process. This article will help you understand the causes of sleep problems and provide tips to help you sleep well.
Diagnosis is also based on the patient's history of sleep disturbances and other contributing factors. Treatment The relief of chronic pain and control of underlying medical conditions such as frequent urination may improve sleep in some people. Although the number of hours per night varies from person to person, most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep in order to function at their best.
Effective treatment of depression can also improve sleep. Sleep-promoting interventions such as a quiet sleep environment and a glass of warm milk before bed may improve the symptoms. Possible risks while taking such medicines include severe allergic reactions and dangerous sleep-related behaviors, including sleep-driving.
Ask your doctor about these risks. Outlook (Prognosis) Most people see improvement in sleep with treatment or interventions.

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