More than 40 % of all people of 65 years and more suffer under chronical sleep disturbances.
When getting older, sleep duration decreases and is between six and seven hours per night. Often, very old people only sleep five hours. Phases of deep sleep decrease, too, and elder people often wake up for short times. Their sleep is easier disturbed by noises and therefore they are easier to wake up.
Different causes might disturb the sleep of elderlies. Some of them are listed below:
This problem especially occurs with men. The constant urge to go to the bathroom at night has a very big impact on sleep. People concerned should avoid drinking after 8 p.m. as well as drinking diuretic beverages like coffee, tea or alcohol.
Age-related resp. mental diseases
Loneliness, conflicts, over- or underload are having a negative effect on sleep at any age.
Lack of movement, pain, diseases of heart or lung, nighttime hypoglycemia are just some physical factors that might impair sleep.
A snoring partner, an improper mattress, a too warm bedroom, noise etc. can cause sleep disturbances.
The medication of people 70+ often include some substances that might be responsible for sleep disturbances.
What can be done?
Relaxation exercises like breathing exercises, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen or autogenous training might support counteracting sleep disturbances. Sticking to a regular daily routine and an appropriate sleep hygiene are important. That means, you should avoid heavy meals before going to bed, for example. Also check your medication with a doctor.
In examinations it was detected that physical as well as social activities during the day have a positive effect on your sleep. The participants made sports for 30-60 minutes during daytime and met their friends regularly. Thus they were more balanced and tired in the evening and their sleeping quality increased within a few days.
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