SleepWith the hectic holiday season in full swing, there’s no better time to remind ourselves how important sleep is to the physical and mental health of seniors – and their caregivers.

Sleep disorders are a significant concern, especially in the geriatric population. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that over 40 million people develop chronic sleep disorders each year.

While changes in sleep patterns are part of the normal aging process, sleep disorders are linked to increased mortality, falls, dementia and cognitive decline. Seniors should clock 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If they’re not, and have the following symptoms, they might be suffering from sleep deprivation.

1. Irritability – Harvard Health Publications found that sleep disorders lead to negative emotions and, in some cases, mental illness. Sleep is critical to overall mood, so losing even a small amount can take a toll.

2. Foggy Memory – Forgetting something now and then is normal. But a study by the Behavioral Sleep Medicine medical group shows that sleep deprivation might cause frequent memory impairments.

3. Reliance on Caffeine to feel awake – Many start their morning with a cup of coffee, but having more then 1 cup a day to stay alert might signal that you’re sleep deprived. Too much caffeine could make sleep more difficult, too, so older adults should limit their caffeine intake.

To get a good night’s rest, you may need to change your current sleeping habits. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule
  • Create a cozy environment by keeping the room cool, tidy and dark
  • Upgrade your mattress and pillows
  • Avoid napping when possible
  • Exercise on a regular basis to use up excess energy

Caregivers need a good night’s sleep just as much as their senior loved one. The National Alliance for Caregiving reports that caregivers often suffer from depression and stress, and 88% have sleep and energy problems. Many caregivers say their sleep is interrupted during the night, while others report the stress of their responsibilities keeps them awake.

At Embassy HealthCare, we offer a full range of services for seniors, from Adult Day Care to Assisted Living. We’ll give your senior loved one the care and compassion they deserve so you can rest easy.

To schedule a tour at one of our OH communities, contact us online or call 216-378-2050.