How to Deal with Insomnia as a Senior

How to Deal with Insomnia as a Senior

How to Deal with Insomnia as a SeniorWith all of the aches, pains, and illnesses that seniors have to endure, it makes sense that many of them are not able to get a good night’s sleep. While it may be more difficult to sleep at night, there are ways to make the situation better. But first, it’s important to understand what insomnia is and how it affects you.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a disorder in which you cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. Many people think that insomnia is not sleeping at all, but that is not the case. When you don’t sleep, you have insomnia.

Some of the reasons you may have insomnia are:

  • Medication side effects
  • Discomfort while lying down
  • Anxiety
  • Symptoms of a medical illness

When people do not sleep, it can lead to other problems in their life. These problems can often times make insomnia worse. It’s a vicious cycle. You can’t sleep, so then you feel bad, and then you can’t sleep because you feel bad.

The way to treat insomnia is by breaking the cycle and attacking the problem at its root. The first step is identifying what is causing the insomnia. Speaking to your doctor can rule out medication side effects and symptoms of a medical illness that can be treated, which will lead to better sleep. For problems that are not as easily resolved such as anxiety or discomfort, you may want to implement these tips on improving your sleep.

  • Take naps during the day. When you can’t sleep at night, you should try to sleep during the day. Many people don’t believe this is a good idea because then it just makes it harder to sleep at night. However, sleeping during the day will give you the rest your body and mind need. Without that rest, you increase your risk of falling or dealing with some other side effect of lack of sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine. Caffeine may be affecting you differently now that you’re older. Avoid any coffee, tea, and soda after noon. Even decaf coffee has caffeine in it, so opt for water and herbal teas.
  • Take melatonin. Your body naturally produces melatonin, but sometimes that level decreases as you grow older. Taking melatonin as a supplement can help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep. It can correct your circadian rhythms, so you will start to sleep at night and be alert during the day.
  • Start a bedtime routine. You may have stopped a bedtime routine because it just doesn’t seem worth it when you don’t end up falling asleep. However, it’s important to have one because it signals to your brain that it needs to start calming down to sleep. Even if you don’t fall asleep, start a bedtime routine and eventually your brain may understand.

Don’t just accept that you don’t sleep anymore. Do things to improve your sleep as much as possible. If you need to discuss what’s on your mind that could be keeping you from sleeping, consider contacting personal consultant Kendall Van Blarcom. He is a supportive, active listener who is a senior helping seniors improve the quality of their lives. Contact him now for help.

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To provide improved mental health support for seniors, education, and motivation to individuals having difficulty with life’s challenges, and to empower them to turn their life around so they can improve it with positive changes that will greatly influence their thoughts, feelings, and actions for the rest of their life.

Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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