Sleep Disorders and the Elderly: What You Need to Know
As we age, our bodies change, and so does our sleep pattern. It’s not uncommon for older adults to experience sleep disturbances and disorders. If you’re an elderly person suffering from sleep problems or you want to learn how to prevent them, this article will guide you through what you need to know about sleep disorders and the elderly.
What are the common sleep disorders among older adults?
The common sleep disorders among older adults include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder. Insomnia is a difficulty falling or staying asleep, while sleep apnea is a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Restless legs syndrome is a tingling or pricking sensation in the legs that makes it hard to sleep, and periodic limb movement disorder is a condition where the legs move uncontrollably during sleep.
Why do sleep disorders occur more frequently in the elderly?
Sleep disorders occur more frequently in the elderly due to several factors. As we age, our body produces less melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep, and our sleep-wake cycle becomes more irregular. Medical and psychiatric conditions that are common in older adults, such as chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and dementia, can also affect sleep.
How can you prevent sleep disorders?
The best way to prevent sleep disorders is by adopting healthy sleep habits. These include sticking to a regular sleep schedule, limiting daytime naps, avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, engaging in regular physical activity, creating a sleep-conducive environment, and avoiding screens such as TVs and smartphones before bedtime.
What are the treatment options for sleep disorders in the elderly?
The treatment options for sleep disorders in the elderly depend on the type and severity of the disorder. For insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep hygiene education, and medication therapy may be effective. For sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, weight loss, and positional therapy may help. restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder may be treated with medications.
When should you see a doctor for sleep problems?
If you’re an elderly person experiencing sleep problems that last for more than a few weeks, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor can diagnose and treat any underlying medical or psychiatric causes of your sleep problems and determine whether you need further evaluation or treatment.
Sleep disorders can affect people of all ages, but they are more common in older adults due to the changes that occur in their bodies. Understanding the common sleep disorders among the elderly, their causes, and prevention measures can help you maintain a healthy sleep pattern and prevent sleep disturbances. If you’re an elderly person experiencing sleep problems, it’s important to seek medical attention to get appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Remember, good sleep is an essential component of overall health and well-being.
The neurologists at THE BRAIN CENTER are specially trained in the care and treatment of Sleep Disorders. To learn more information about how our neurology team can help with your diagnosis and treatment, call us at our office at: (786) 565-8735