With increasing age, sleep disturbances are very common. About 50 % of all 65+ suffer under disturbances to fall asleep and to sleep through as well as increased daytime sleepiness. There are several factors with a negative influence on sleep. A change in the sleep-wake-rhythm, physical and mental problems but also medications may lead to a decreasing quality of sleep. Today, it’s the worldsleeping day and therefore a good opportunity to use this occasion to alert the importance of a healthy sleep. Read more about sleep disturbances with an increasing age:
Causes of a decreased sleeping quality in old age
Amongst others, the following belong to the causes of a decreased sleeping quality
- change in sleep-wake-rhythm
- decreasing sleeping ability
- intake of sleeping pills
- physical diseases and complaints
- mental diseases and depressions
- medication intake
Other reasons for sleep disturbances:
- Change in sleep-wake-rhythm: With increasing age the sleep-wake-cycle changes. Mostly, elder people wake up earlier than younger people.
- Decreasing sleeping ability: The sleep of elder people is more fragile, phases of deep sleep are shortened and hence the sleep is disturbed easily. More phases of waking up occur. Naturally, the physical and mental recovery come off badly and daytime sleepiness increases.
- Intake of sleeping pills: Besides disturbances to sleep through, elder people often suffer under disturbances to fall asleep. Some try to avoid these difficulties with the intake of sleeping pills. But, be careful! Chemical sleeping pills lead to a “chemical sleep” and don’t solve sleeping problems; often addictions occur and sleeping phases are disturbed. Phases of REM-sleep for example are decreased. Better try natural sleeping aids.
- Physical diseases and complaints: Chronic diseases like cardio-vascular diseases, pains in the joints or soft tissues also affect sleep. Furthermore, some necessary medications also negatively influence sleep. Try to find a suitable solution with your doctor.
- A constant urge to urinate is also disturbing sleep. It is advisable to drink more during daytime and very little in the evening. Coffee, black tea or alcohol not only disturb sleep because of their diuretic effect.
- Mental diseases like depressions: Loneliness, the loss of loved ones or lack of activity may lead to depressive disorders. Besides a lack of appetite or vitality sleep disturbances might indicate depressions.
Read in the next article how to improve sleeping quality in age.
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German