If you are tossing and turning at night trying to fall but just can’t then you are not the only one. 25% of people above 50 suffer from insomnia or some other type of sleep disorder. A long-term effect of not getting proper sleep can cause a number of problems including, stress, high blood pressure, diabetes etc.
Ageing people are more prone to disruption in sleep cycle than youngsters. The causes could be many including food, metabolic disorder, anxiety etc. Sleepless nights often lead to tiresome days and some consumption of caffeinated beverages leading to more sleep problems.
What are some of the reasons older people get less sleep?
They Go To Bed Late – Many folks work late, they have responsibilities at home, let it be kids, filing tax, reading emails or beginning office work at home. Many simply relax on the sofa watching TV, browning their phone. These people go to bed late and wake up early in the morning. This gives them a very narrow time to have a good sleep. Regular practice of sleeping less can age you faster.
Health Issues – In most cases, the disruption in sleep occurs due to you or parting snoring at night. Sleep apnea, a disorder where the person stops breathing for a short interval of time during sleep, can be a cause to poor sleep as well. Snoring and sleep apnea problems are common in old age as the airway for older people is more likely to be constricted during sleep than for people in their twenties or thirties.
Certain Medicines Can Also Cause Poor Sleep – Older people who suffer from mental health issue take medicines that may affect your sleep cycle, talk to your doctor to see what works best for you.
Heartburn And Gastric Problems – People order the age of fifty suffers from a number of gastric problems. Their digestive system is not as great as it uses to be once, the digestion becomes slow and certain food gives you heartburn. The common suggestion to overcome such problems can be eating three hours before bed.
Restless Leg Syndrome – RLS a disorder common in older folks is caused due to poor heart health. RLS makes you want to move your legs and hands to feel comfortable, the acute discount happens when your heart is unable to pump as much blood as needed in the extremities during sleep. Our heart naturally slows down during the night but with age, the power of the heart to pump blood decreases hence the probability of Restless Leg Syndrome becomes more.
Thermoregulation – Body has a way to regulate its body temperature. Let is be through radiation (usually by giving out heat from feet and hands), sweating etc, the body manages a constant core body temperature. This temperature may vary with age gender or level of physical work you are doing. Usually, while a work-out the core body temperature rises and during sleep, it goes down. In fact, one of the main factors of good sleep is the lowering of core body temperature by 1 to 2 degrees. For women over fifty menopause can cause problems with thermoregulation. Hot and cold flush at night is one of the effects of poor thermoregulation.
Dyssomnia – A disorder where a person has difficulty falling asleep while feeling drowsy the whole day. This can happen due to obstructive sleep apnea, night walking or night terrors. All of these can subconsciously hinder your ability to fall asleep.
What happens when you don’t get good sleep for a long period of time?
Snoring, teeth grinding, Restless sleep syndrome and sleep apnea are all very prominent causes of chronic insomnia. It will not only disturb your but your partner’s sleep as well.
Some of the health risks are:
- Weight problems
- Heart disorder
- High blood pressure
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor attention span
What can you do?
Exercise – The best way to keep your body fit and metabolically healthy is to exercise, it improves your heart health, releases dopamine in body uplifting your mood and it makes you tired when you go to bed. Exercise can be cycling, jogging, stitching, yoga, swimming or any kind of physical activity that you can do.
Eating Habit – Don’t consume too much caffeine. Give up smoking and reduce alcohol consumption. Any kind of stimulant, especially before bed, can cause you to have a bad sleep. Eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated throughout the day and avoid processed food as much as possible.
Before Bed – Be away from blue screens, such as tv, computer, phones before bed.
Keep Your Feet Warm – Sleep in a cold room but keep your feet warm. A cold room reduces your core body temperature but keeping your feet warm can make you feel comfortable.
Do Something About The Snoring – There are several devices available in the market for such as jaw straps, mouth guards etc to help you from snoring or teeth grinding at night.