Insomnia commonly refers to difficulty falling asleep. Many people are able to fall asleep but waking and being unable to fall back to sleep can also be a problem. Insomnia is more common in seniors often due to health issues, anxiety and medication and can be perplexing to address. Many of these concerns are reduced when you have support from the staff at Warm Valley Lodge Assisted Living.
Here are some possible reasons we struggle with sleeping all through the night.
Originally we were designed to get up with the light and go to sleep when it is dark; the advent of electricity changed that. Too much light can impact the quality of sleep and it doesn’t take much. Make sure to turn the alarm clock away from view and consider drawing the shades so street lamps or the early dawn does not interrupt a restful night’s sleep. Also resist late night TV and computer use.
Daylight is also extremely important, spend as much time as possible near sunlight or outside because it helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. The South facing windows at the Lodge let in an abundance of sunshine!
Research indicates we need less sleep as we age and therefore the chances of falling and staying asleep can be an issue. Sometimes falling asleep can be easier than staying asleep and women’s sleep is also compromised with the onset of menopause. Learn more about from the National Institute of Health.
Alcohol is a common sleep aid and in small amounts this is true, alcohol will help slumber. The quality of sleep is compromised compared to falling asleep naturally and without alcohol. Research indicates the more alcohol the greater the impact on sleep and the deepest stage of the sleep cycle is the REM sleep and that is shortened by too much alcohol. It also can cause you to wake in the middle of the night when the alcohol wears off and can make you feel less rested the next day.
Medications often are a part of our lives as we age and may impact the quality of your sleep. Stimulant medications will interfere with sleep and especially meds prescribed for asthma, heart and thyroid can impact sleep patterns. The medical staff at an assisted living facility can make sure medications are delivered promptly and properly.
Naps can be very restorative but try and limit the nap to 1 hour and take the nap before 3 in the afternoon where it will interfere with falling asleep in the evening. Late afternoon naps will make you more prone to a wakeful night. In an assisted living facility there many activities to keep you engaged and it is easier to resist napping.
The state of our mental health also plays a part in our ability to go to and stay asleep. If there are circumstances in life that cause stress it can be hard to put your worries to bed. Try some deep breathing exercises at bedtime or write a list of concerns and leave your worries on the bedside table. At Warm Valley Lodge there is staff to help you 24 hours a day which will often reduce anxiety. Caring can make a world of difference!
Feature Image: Bill Sincavag