Seniors have more trouble sleeping through the night
Older adults tend to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep.
That means you might have to get up when they get up. You need make sure they don’t fall while going to the bathroom, try to go outside, or do something that wakes the rest of the house.
That’s exhausting! We’ve got 2 ways to solve senior sleep problems so you can both get more rest at night.
Reasons for senior sleep problems
Understanding why older adults have trouble getting a good night’s sleep can help you improve the situation.
Often, if you ask them why they can’t sleep, they won’t know or won’t be able to express it clearly. You might have to play detective to figure out the cause.
Common reasons for poor sleep include:
- Discomfort from medical conditions
- Medication side effects
- Needing to pee more frequently
- Irregular sleep/wake schedule
- Daytime napping
- Too much time spent in bed
2 ways to improve their sleep (and yours!)
To help both of you sleep better at night, you’ll need to troubleshoot the situation.
1. Talk with their doctor
- Write down when they sleep and wake for about a week so you can describe the pattern or schedule clearly.
- Ask if pain from medical conditions or medication side effects could be causing problems. Find out if if increasing / decreasing doses, changing the drug, or switching medication timing could improve the situation.
- Ask if light painkillers before bed or if safer sleep aids, like antihistamines, could help.
2. Try lifestyle changes
- Limit caffeine consumption, even during the day. Secretly switch their coffee or tea to decaf if they refuse to give it up.
- Limit liquids several hours before bedtime. Try to get them to drink more water earlier in the day.
- Always have them pee (or at least try) before going to sleep.
- If they get up because they’re concerned about an accident, encourage wearing disposable underwear at night — not necessarily to use, just for peace of mind.
- Keep them on a regular daily schedule. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day helps signal their body that it’s time for bed.
- Limit the length and frequency of daytime naps, especially in the afternoon.
- Decrease the amount of time spent in bed. For example, if they usually sleep from 10pm to 8am, consider moving to an 11pm to 7am schedule.
- Try a wind-down period starting an hour before bed. Play calming music, focus on a mellow activity, or give a brief massage to loosen muscles.
- Check to see if their mattress comfortable and supportive.
- Keep the room at a moderate temperature so they won’t get too hot or too cold.
- Consider getting a pillow or stuffed animal for them to cuddle so they’ll feel safe and warm.
Hang in there, improving sleep requires patience and persistence!
You may need to try many different things before you hit on the right combination of solutions. Make sure to give each change some time to take effect – senior bodies are slower to adjust to changes.
Solving senior sleep problems takes a bit of effort, but it will be worth it to make nights better for both of you.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Find Innovative Healthcare