Image of Senior woman cannot sleep at nighttime due to insomnia.Although our sleep patterns change as we age, it doesn’t mean tossing and turning has to become part of a nightly routine.

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for senior citizens. It boosts concentration and memory, staves off depression and rejuvenates the immune system. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

It’s normal for seniors to get sleepy earlier in the evening, not doze as deeply and wake up earlier than they did in their younger years. However, insomnia should not be an expected condition.

 Sleeplessness could point to the possibility of an underlying medical problem. Conditions such as heart disease, acid reflux and urinary problems can make it difficult to sleep. Ask your physician if you have a condition that may cause restless nights.

It may be tempting to treat insomnia with prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. This can backfire because these sedatives can be habit-forming and lessen brain function.

Instead, try these practices to sleep better:

  • Avoid electronics. Artificial lights can suppress the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Turn off the TV and personal devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekend.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia. This therapy focuses on relaxation techniques, regular bedtime routines and avoiding negative thoughts that fuel insomnia. This therapy can be conducted in person or through online programs.

For more information on Embassy Healthcare facilities, visit us online or call 888-975-1379.