Sleep disturbance often occurs in older people, which significantly impairs the quality of life. For a long time, this problem was left without due attention. According to statistics, age-related insomnia occurs in 35% of older people. In the female half of the population, such a problem as sleep disturbance is more common than in men.
Causes of age-related insomnia
Sleep disturbance in old age can occur for various reasons. Most often, sleep disorder occurs due to atherosclerosis. With this disease, there is a deterioration in the blood circulation of the brain structures and a decrease in metabolism, which, in turn, is reflected in the disorder of the biological rhythms of sleep and wakefulness. Even if a person tries by all efforts to maintain the previous rhythm by stopping to sleep during the day, night sleep does not improve. Some manage to fall asleep, but after awakening they do not have a feeling of relaxation.
In medicine, all causes associated with sleep disturbance are classified into primary and secondary.
Primary causes of disturbed sleep include:
- the presence of a condition associated with muscle twitching (myoclonus),
- twitching of the lower extremities during sleep,
- breath holding during sleep. Overweight men are more prone to this disease.
The secondary causes of restless sleep are associated with mental disorders and diseases of various origins:
- the presence of heart and vascular disease,
- lung disease - bronchitis, asthma, etc.,
- pathologies associated with impaired activity of the endocrine system,
- disorders of the peripheral nervous system, etc.
Sleep problems can occur in different ways. In some cases, painful insomnia may be observed in older people, which should not be delayed, tiring falling asleep or a superficial sleep. In other situations, there are memorable, but heavy dreams, earlier awakening and a lack of a sense of relaxation.
People with a weak nervous system very often have a phenomenon such as drowsiness. Such people need periodic rest from stressful conditions to recover. In this case, the state of drowsiness acts as a protective function of the body, protecting the body from overwork.
Insomnia - what to do? Many do not even suspect that the cause of restless sleep may be hiding in the use of various medications. In most cases, nasal drops with sympathomimetics, antibiotics, psychotropic drugs, cardiac, antitussive drugs, etc. can provoke restless sleep.
How does the sleep disorder manifest?
This phenomenon occurs when a person wants to sleep, but for some reason cannot sleep. This condition can last for several hours. A person falls asleep only at midnight or closer to the morning. Naturally, such a dream does not give a feeling of vigor after awakening. After awakening, the body experiences a feeling of heaviness and weakness. A person suffering from age-related insomnia has low working capacity and quickly gets tired.
For similar symptoms, it is recommended to consult a specialist for advice and treatment. The first doctor’s appointment at the “Restorative Medicine” clinic is free of charge.
What are the ways to deal with insomnia that occurs with age?
In order not to have problems with sleep with age, it is recommended to change the lifestyle, which has long been a habit. First of all, it is important to give up exercise before you need to eat. After eating, you need to relax a bit. Before falling asleep, it is necessary to drink drinks in small quantities or completely abandon them. It is recommended to refuse nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. Such a habit as a snack in bed should be forgotten. Also, do not watch TV or read a book in bed. If after fifteen minutes it was not possible to fall asleep, then you must go into a bright room in order to read a book, newspaper or magazine.
If insomnia, the cause of which can be varied, continues over a long period of time, then restoring sleep will be much more difficult. The main way to treat a disorder of this kind is the application of efforts aimed at strengthening the nervous system. In this regard, it is important to protect the body from excessive nervous stress and stress. An important method of combating this ailment is to spend a lot of time in the fresh air. In such conditions, a person of any age is much easier to fall asleep. You can try to fall asleep outdoors. Scientists have proved that the flow of fresh air has a beneficial effect on overexcited brain cells.
The use of sleeping pills leads only to a temporary relief of the condition. At first, these funds help, and a person easily falls asleep. However, after a certain period, addiction is observed and the healing effect is significantly reduced.
To make a dream stronger and better, you can, if you stop taking a nap in the daytime. Even with a bad dream, you need to get up no earlier than seven or eight hours. Early rise can cause sleep disturbance. Before falling asleep, it is recommended to remove all irritants that may interfere. Such irritants include bright light, loud sounds, high temperature in the room. The bed should be comfortable and the linen fresh. No need to choose excessively high pillows.
Going to bed is always necessary at the same time, using an alarm clock for this purpose. This will allow you to tune in to daily sleep. Thus, beginning insomnia is not only a sign of impending old age, but also acts as a signal for a change in lifestyle. To develop quality sleep, you need to work on a lifestyle.
Currently, scientists are finding it difficult to answer the question of whether disturbed sleep is a natural physiological process of aging of the human body or whether it is directly related to pathological changes. On the issue of insomnia, you can consult the clinic "Recovery Medicine".
What it is
The body needs healthy rest just like oxygen or food. The state of the nervous system and cell renewal depend on it. If the rest lasts less than 6 hours, then this is not enough. Its insufficiency negatively affects the immune system, reduces the life expectancy.
Not every person can take sleeping pills, so the doctor chooses useful and safe ways.
With age, sleep becomes sensitive, and in order to plunge into it will take more and more time. It is easy for an aged person to wake up at night, but after that it is difficult for him to fall asleep again.
Such changes are considered normal, but cause discomfort. Senile insomnia negatively affects the well-being of a person.
In old age, rest lasts about 5-6 hours. Therefore, the elderly often sleep during the day, especially after lunch.
In such cases, special therapy is not required. You just need to get used to such changes.
The causes of insomnia are associated with age-related changes and are often the norm. Deterioration of sleep in the elderly can also occur when taking such medications:
- antihypertensive drugs
- antiarrhythmic drugs
- cardiac glycosides (consequence of overdose),
- cough medicine
After the end of therapy, one can observe an improvement in the quality of rest. In order to determine other causes of insomnia, use special tests and diagnostics.
If a background or chronic disease is not hidden behind this condition, such changes are considered the norm. Usually they are associated with age-related changes.
In addition, the causes of insomnia in women after 50 years may be associated with menopause. Additionally, hyperhidrosis, palpitations, hot flashes.
The characteristics of doubt are often taken into account in assessing the quality of life of older people. The main manifestations of rest disorders include:
- complaints of insomnia
- hard to fall asleep
- sensitive, intermittent rest,
- many vivid and emotional dreams,
- early rise
- constant feeling of anxiety, anxiety,
- after waking up at night, it is impossible to fall back to sleep.
Patients of this age often wake up in the morning. Moreover, their condition is accompanied by anxiety.
Types of Violations
Sleep disturbance in old age can be divided into the following types:
- the inability to sleep for a long time,
- frequent waking up at night,
- earlier awakening.
People aged more often than young wake up several times in the middle of the night, with the inability to continue the process later. In this case, the rise can be at 5-6 in the morning, regardless of the time when the person fell asleep. Evening falling asleep usually lasts 30-60 minutes.
As a result, rest is not complete. This negatively affects your well-being. Persistent insomnia leads to chronic drowsiness.
Drug treatment is one of the effective methods for normalizing nighttime rest. There is a wide selection of safe medicines. But the therapy is determined by the doctor individually, for each patient, taking into account the age and characteristics of his body.
The use of the drug should contribute to continuous sleep during the night. At the same time, drowsiness will appear less in the daytime. Pay attention to drugs that do not have significant side effects and are not addictive.
Before use, be sure to read the instructions. They recommend resorting to the help of Persen or funds based on melatonin. These include Melaxen.
It is important to consider that sleeping pills are used for no more than 20 days. Therapy also consists of sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants. Herbal teas based on herbal preparations are comprehensively taken.
Folk remedies are recommended in combination with medicines, but only after the recommendation of a doctor. Useful will be:
- dried bay leaves
- eating onions before falling asleep,
- a glass of dry red wine or Cahors with dill seeds,
- Valerian infusion to achieve a sedative effect.
A useful remedy for insomnia in old age is herbal tea. The drink is useful for many problems and pathologies.
In case of sleep disturbance, it is recommended to use such recipes for making healthy tea.
- Hop cones, melilot grass and lemon balm. All plants must be ground. Then they are placed in a sealed container and pour boiling water. A glass of water will need 1 tbsp. grass collection. In addition, tea can be brewed in a thermos. It is recommended to drink 2-3 glasses a day, and take the last dose before falling asleep.
- Strawberry tea. Suitable for daily use. It is also called forest tea. It has a large number of useful properties. Brewed easily - in the same way as regular tea. Infused for 10-15 minutes. For a richer taste, you can add natural honey, if there are no contraindications.
- Tea from lettuce leaves. An unusual drink has a pronounced sedative effect. Brew it from dry shredded leaves in the usual way. The ratio is 1 tsp. in a glass of boiling water. Take 2-3 times a day for 20-30 minutes before eating. Drink the last glass 1.5 hours before falling asleep.
Before treating insomnia in old age, you should definitely consult your doctor. Given age-related changes that are irreversible, therapy aims to improve well-being.
Older people often cannot get used to changes in the body. This is especially true for sleep disorders.
For prevention, it is recommended to follow these tips:
- discard drinks that contain caffeine,
- limit physical activity in the afternoon,
- develop a regimen and diet of the day (do not overeat at night),
- drink warm milk with honey (the drink has a mild sedative effect, helps to relax),
- wake up and fall asleep every day at the same time,
- reduce the duration of rest in the daytime or completely abandon it,
- do not use sleeping pills without a doctor’s prescription, since such drugs are addictive,
- consult a doctor to determine the cause of the violation.
It is useful for each person to learn how to deal with insomnia in old age. Such violations are very common.
Deterioration of sleep in the elderly is normal if the cause is not hidden in the presence of a background or chronic disease. To exclude them, you must consult a doctor.
Combined therapy and useful recommendations will help normalize the process, improve a person’s well-being, and improve the quality of life.
It is forbidden to take medications on your own, as they can harm your health.
Lack of sleep and dementia
As a result of the studies, it was revealed that there is an interdependence between lack of sleep and dementia. That is, the presence of dementia can trigger sleep problems and, conversely, lack of sleep is a possible cause of dementia. Animal experiments have shown that deep sleep cleanses the brain of neurotoxic amyloid beta proteins that accumulate in patients with dementia.
But often, changes in the standard sleep pattern are normal in old age. A person can start to get up earlier or go to bed later and still feel good. The key to maintaining a deep and long sleep are physical exercises that are useful at any age.
Nocturnal obstructive apnea is characterized by heavy breathing during the night, as a result of which sleep is interrupted. A similar problem usually develops against the background of the present diseases of the cardiovascular system, diabetes. Progressive apnea has a bad effect on the state of memory, on mental activity.
The quality of night sleep plays a more important role than its duration. If an elderly person sleeps less than usual, but at the same time wakes up no more than once a night and then falls asleep again, then there is no reason for concern. You should go to the doctor if the dream lasts less than six hours, or the person feels that he does not have enough long periods of sleep.
Regardless of the causes of sleep problems, older people have a real opportunity to make a difference with the right lifestyle. The presence in everyday life of moderate physical activity, as well as social activity contribute to normalization of sleep.
You need to start taking care of the quality of your sleep in advance. Often people begin to experience the first problems in middle age, as a result, over time, the process only gets worse.
According to researchers from Oxford University, people all over the world suffer from sleep deprivation, a condition that occurs due to chronic lack of sleep. In addition to the increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and depression, lack of sleep lowers immunity and impairs cognitive function.However, with age, our need for the number of hours of sleep decreases markedly, and older people generally sleep an hour less than young people, which is considered a natural and non-harmful process. However, with age, sleep loses its recovery function. restorative sleep tends to decline with age. People spend less time in the deep phase of sleep (delta sleep), which is responsible for the normal functioning of memory and helps to restore psychological and physiological health.
Researchers believe that changes in sleep quality with aging occur imperceptibly for humans.
Age-related changes have been felt since thirty years, mainly in men. According to EEG or electroencephalography, in some men, delta sleep is reduced by 50% compared with sleep at the age of 20 years. For women, the decrease is less, but still reaches 25%. This contributes to lethargy during the day and reduces the quality of sleep. Due to the fact that a lack of nighttime sleep causes daytime sleepiness according to a 2007 study, 10% of people aged 55 to 64 years sleep during the day and 25% of people aged 75 to 84.
Drowsiness is taken by surprise
According to scientists, the body can get used to the loss of sleep and mask symptoms. In addition, studies show that the need for sleep in older people accumulates and is chronic, but the brain, for some reason, is less sensitive to it. Experts believe that these changes are happening so slowly that people are not aware of them. But is it possible to reverse such changes, because they are directly related to the aging of the body?
Given that such a condition can be biologically caused, probably science can do very little. Researchers call a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, regular exercise and the ability to cope with stress the best solution to sleep quality problems. But as for sleeping pills, most drugs have a limited effect and are mainly aimed at combating anxiety.