The Science of Insomnia: Why It’s so Common after 60 and How to Overcome It

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Tired of being tired? Being one of life’s great curatives, a good night’s sleep should be readily accessible, not a long lost reality. If you have an aging parent or loved one who struggles with falling or staying asleep at night, Home Care Assistance of Columbus, OH presents a few great tricks for catching some zzz’s.

The Science of Sleep

Normal sleep follows a pattern of brain activity that includes periods of deep, restful REM and light, non-REM sleep. Although these phases remain throughout life, the length of time spent in REM sleep decreases with age. As a result, older adults only experience short bouts of deep sleep throughout the night. Having become such light sleepers, seniors often find themselves awoken several times throughout the night and struggling to feel rested when morning arrives. The later stages of life are also more likely to include more medications, some of which may interfere with sleep. Be sure to check with your loved one’s doctor to rule this out as a contributing factor.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Consider cleansing the bedroom of all things that can be disruptive to sleep. This means turning off all sources of light, sound or distraction. Also be sure to minimize the use of the bedroom for leisure time activities. Watch or read from the comfort of an armchair and move to the bed only when the time is right to rest. To get good sleep at night, it is also important to avoid dozing off during the day. Although it can feel like the only way to get through the day after a poor night’s sleep, napping only works to perpetuate the problem.

Stay Active…with an Attitude of Gratitude

Physical activity is strongly linked to restful sleep. Getting out for a walk or any other type of exercise, particularly in the afternoon or evening, helps to lengthen those periods of deep sleep. Family members should accompany their loved one on a walk around the neighborhood. You can also turn to a professional part-time caregiver in Columbus who can accompany your loved one on regular walks should you not be able to. Another proven aid in obtaining restful sleep is to practice expressing gratitude. Spending 15 minutes writing about the gifts life has brought may make a good night’s sleep a new addition to the list.

Getting a good night’s rest is important for overall senior health, so make sure your loved one has access to all the support and assistance needed to sleep well each night. If you would like to learn more about elder care in Columbus, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Columbus today at 614-481-8888. We offer custom elder care schedules on an hourly or live-in basis and have a team of highly trained and compassionate caregivers who are available 24/7!

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