Do you think about your grandparent’s sleep time and why they are sleeping too much the whole day? Do you know the reason if “NOT” don’t worry. Follow this article to acknowledge why old people sleep so much.
People have lighter sleep as they get older compared to when they were younger. It becomes typical to wake up in the middle of the night with sore joints or a bathroom necessity. Many elderly individuals make up for this lack of sleep by taking a rejuvenating nap during the day. That is typical. When a loved one spends the majority of their time sleeping in bed or their favorite chair rather than engaged in life, daytime drowsiness in the elderly becomes a concern.
You must identify the underlying cause of an older adult’s frequent napping if you want them to be more alert during the day and sleep better at night. What’s more, in rare circumstances, you might require a doctor’s assistance to identify the problem and make treatment suggestions. By being aware of the warning signs, you can help a senior’s sleep schedule.
Understanding how aging affects health is more crucial than ever to meet the special requirements of older persons. Since we spend roughly one-third of our lives sleeping, understanding how aging and sleep interact is essential to promoting senior citizens’ general health.
This article covers a lot about old people’s sleep like why old people sleep so much, elderly people’s common daytime sleepiness causes, how to get the right amount of sleep, common sleep issues in old people, the benefits of sleep for old people, and much more.
Table of Contents
Why do old people sleep so much?
Following are the reasons why old people sleep too much;
- Anxiety and disengagement
- Medicine-related issues
- Low energy and depression
- Increasing dementia
- Alterations in health
Anxiety and disengagement
People may face age-related changes and chronic health conditions as they get older, which limits their ability to engage in their favorite activities. An elderly person’s quality of life may be severely impacted by the lack of outings, entertainment, and activity opportunities. Hence, they aren’t employed anymore, they could have difficulty with reading or puzzles, and watching TV gets boring after a while.
What’s more, elderly people in these situations might not even be overly weary or clinically sad. Instead, they are so extremely bored that they are exhausted. They fall into the habit of taking naps for most of the day since they don’t have a timetable to follow or much to look forward to in their life.
For elderly persons, polypharmacy is a severe risk. According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 89% of Americans 65 and older say they regularly take prescription drugs, with more than half (54%) saying they regularly fill four or more. What’s more, it should not be surprising that taking various medications can result in interactions that amplify side effects as all medications have negative consequences.
Additionally, older people have a different way of metabolizing drugs than their younger counterparts, which makes them even more prone to side effects like drowsiness and dizziness. A lot of sleepiness can be brought on by both prescription and over-the-counter medications for disorders like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, nausea, and allergies.
Atypical (second-generation) antipsychotics are infamous for being particularly difficult for older patients, especially those who have dementia. If your loved one is taking any of these medications, talk to their doctor about possible adverse effects and treatment alternatives. You might even discover that some of the medications they are taking could be withdrawn entirely or reduced to smaller quantities. However, seniors’ daytime alertness can occasionally be increased by changing the schedule of their medications.
Low energy and depression
While some seniors experience sadness and lose interest in life, depression is not a typical aspect of growing older. Unfortunately, research shows that while up to 16 percent of older persons experience clinically significant depressive symptoms, the severe depressive disorder only affects 5% of community-dwelling elders.
The typical warning symptoms of depression are well known to most individuals, however, they may alter slightly for senior citizens. Sleep problems and exhaustion could be signs that a loved one’s mental health is changing. Make an appointment with their doctor as soon as you can if you observe these symptoms and try to communicate with them about how they’re feeling.
Remember that choosing the right medicine usually necessitates some trial and error if a senior begins antidepressant therapy or is already taking antidepressant medication. Once more, one of these prescription medications’ frequent side effects can be tiredness. Therefore, to make sure your loved one gets the correct medication, be careful to let the doctor know about any side effects.
In addition, seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia frequently have a variety of sleep issues, especially as the disease progresses. Dementia sufferers find it challenging to sleep through the night and maintain a regular schedule because of challenges with circadian rhythms and temporal awareness that develop as the brain changes. Patients may find that the only way to make up for lost sleep at night is to sleep during the day.
Sleep deprivation can make dementia symptoms like agitation and sundowning worse, and the erratic schedules that ensue are sometimes distressing for carers. Sadly, there aren’t many surefire ways to assist a dementia sufferer in getting a good night’s sleep and staying alert during the day. However, sleeping medications, whether they are over-the-counter or prescribed, are normally not advised.
The greatest non-pharmaceutical strategies for promoting excellent sleep habits, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, include arranging brief naps as needed, planning interesting daytime activities, and adhering to a regular sleep schedule. Therefore, an organized routine can be very helpful in keeping a loved one focused and controlling dementia-related behaviors.
Alterations in health
What’s more, when people with one or more major medical disorders sleep excessively, it may be a sign that something is wrong with their health. This may or may not indicate that death is imminent, but it is a reason to speak with their doctor to determine whether a particular course of treatment needs to be changed, added to, or discontinued.
In addition, it’s crucial to find strategies to make sure a loved one continues to receive the meals, personal care, and medication they require if they spend a lot of time sleeping. Otherwise, issues like hunger, dehydration, and pressure ulcers may develop. Therefore, in the most extreme situations, a doctor might advise getting assessed for a higher level of care, such as skilled nursing or hospice.
Seniors with terminal illnesses will notice significant changes in consciousness and a decline in activity as their lives draw close. Sometimes a dying person will become unconscious for periods before going into a coma and passing away. Hence, these and other symptoms can be helped by a hospice care provider, who can also make sure a dying loved one is at ease and comfortable in their final days.
Elderly people’s common daytime sleepiness causes
Adults who are aging commonly get up during the night and sleep more during the day. On the other hand, these habits could be detrimental to their emotional, mental, and physical health. Here are a few factors that contribute to senior tiredness, along with solutions. Therefore, adults who are aging commonly get up during the night and sleep more during the day. On the other hand, these habits could be detrimental to their emotional, mental, and physical health. Here are a few factors that contribute to senior tiredness, along with solutions.
In older people, sleep is frequently disturbed by aching joints, outside sounds, or nudges from their bladders. They might awaken too early if sunlight can seep through the drapes. Some elderly people awaken when their body temperature falls and they become cold. These things all contribute to getting too little sleep. Your loved one might sleep during the day as restitution. However, by making sure your loved one is comfortable, you can encourage sound sleep. First, refrain from serving alcohol three hours before night.
What’s more, encourage your loved one to use the restroom before going to bed to reduce the likelihood of overnight excursions. Joint pressure and soreness can be avoided with a supportive mattress and pillow. Provide extra blankets if your loved one is underweight or feeble to prevent chills. Disruptive noises can be hidden using “white noise” generators. Hence, if your loved one is awakened by the morning sun, cover the bedroom windows with blackout drapes.
Low melatonin levels
The hormone that encourages sleep, melatonin, is produced less frequently as we age. Meletin levels can be increased in two different methods. One way is to consume foods that contain this hormone. Eggs, milk, tart cherries, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios are all good choices. If your loved one has a poor appetite, you might think about giving him or her melatonin supplements if the doctor gives the go-ahead. Some drugs may be affected by melatonin pills. Ask the doctor to suggest the right dosage for your loved one if they give the go-ahead. Sleep experts advise 0.5 to 3 grams. Your loved one may require assistance with daily duties if they are very exhausted or sleepy during the day.
In addition, not all seniors require the same level of care, thus not all seniors require the same kind of senior care. You can count on home care assistance to offer a personalized care plan to meet the particular needs of your aging loved one. Our comprehensive balanced care method was created to assist seniors in concentrating on healthy lifestyle practices like eating wholesome foods, exercising frequently, and upholding strong social ties, and our cognitive therapeutics method provides mentally stimulating activities that can fend off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Emotions frequently play a role in depression. Perhaps the restrictions of declining health and diminished mobility are upsetting your loved one. Perhaps they are lamenting the loss of close friends, loved ones, or a favorite animal. Your loved one might regret the rift if they argued with a close friend or family member. Traumatic lifestyle changes can result in deep sorrow. An illustration would be selling one’s house and renting an apartment. Hence, your loved one may miss their prior sense of purpose, their coworkers, or their greater salary if they recently retired.
Furthermore, physical causes can also contribute to depression. For example, a senior may have an imbalance in their brain’s chemical composition. Your loved one might not have any possibility of recovering from chronic pain. A depressed mood may also be brought on by several drugs. Drugs for the treatment of pain, seizures, anxiety, and insomnia are among them. If at all feasible, discuss your loved one’s problems with them. Make an appointment with their primary care physician to find out whether the depression has a physical reason if that doesn’t offer any further clarification.
Encourage your loved one to participate in enjoyable activities every day if they can exercise. Physical activity, according to studies, fosters a more positive mindset. Ask the doctor for advice if you’re not sure whether a particular form of exercise is safe for your loved one. Support groups and counseling can both help gloomy feelings pass. What’s more, professional pain management, medication, and dietary changes are additional methods of pain reduction.
Restless legs syndrome (RlS)
People with this sleep problem move their legs all through the night. Pulling, tingling, hurting, and itching in the legs are all relieved by movement. Although the exact origin of restless legs syndrome is unknown, vitamin D and iron deficiency seem to be linked to RLS. Therefore, these nutritional deficiencies can be identified by blood testing and treated with dietary adjustments and supplements. According to studies, RLS can also be helped by stretching, massage, warm baths before bed, and light exercise.
A person with this illness experiences brief cessations in breathing during sleep cycles. The most prevalent type, obstructive sleep apnea, is brought on by the tongue muscles relaxing, which causes the throat to constrict and obstruct breathing. However, the REM cycle, the restorative period of sleep, is prevented by sleep apnea. Gasping for air and heavy snoring are indications of airway blockage.
In addition, the person can have a headache and a sore throat when they awaken. Naturally, the person is likewise worn out, and the exhaustion lasts the entire day. This disorder can be identified by observing a person’s sleep habits in a sleep laboratory. Fortunately, utilizing a CPAP machine can help you manage sleep apnea. This device maintains an open airway by encouraging regular breathing.
Medication side effects
Particular prescription and over-the-counter medications can make you drowsy. Among these are medicines used to treat:
- Parkinson’s condition
- Extreme pain
- Elevated blood pressure
- Nasal clogging
Speak with your loved one’s doctor if you suspect that any particular medications could be the cause of their drowsiness. The doctor could change the medication or reduce the dosage. Occasionally, altering the dosing schedule can help seniors stay awake. Hence, without the doctor’s consent, your loved one shouldn’t stop taking any medications.
Sleep can be impacted in dementia patients who are aging people. The body clock and one’s awareness of time are impacted by the loss of brain cells. Lack of sleep can make agitation and confusion, two frequent signs of dementia, worse. For elders with dementia, dementia experts suggest planning interesting activities. What’s more, Include naps and adhere to a nighttime schedule as well. Such routines can help your loved one get their bearings. As previously discussed, several drugs may make you sleepy during the day. Consult your loved one’s physician if you think this might be the case.
In addition, seniors who are suffering from late-stage dementia could sleep a lot. The best you can do in that situation is to ensure your loved one is comfortable. For family caregivers, taking care of a senior with dementia can be difficult. Fortunately, families in Winnipeg can rely on dementia care. Hence, professional dementia carers prevent wandering, offer cognitive stimulation, and aid with household chores to ensure that seniors with dementia remain secure and comfortable at home.
If your loved one finds life tiresome and uninteresting, he or she could wish to sleep all day. Rekindle your loved one’s interest in past interests to encourage them to stay awake. If this is no longer feasible, select other worthwhile endeavors. Your loved one will experience intense satisfaction as they finish tasks and accomplish goals. As a result, the successes will encourage further action and create momentum. Greater self-esteem is another advantage. Creative activities are very enjoyable.
Your loved one might take great pleasure in creating scrapbooks, bracelets, or necklaces. Cooking and baking can be fun for some seniors. They might even give away their creations. Adopting a pet can bring joy and laughter into the life of your loved one. Seniors need to socialize, including over the phone and Zoom, and volunteering can be fulfilling. Houses of religion, libraries, and animal shelters are a few examples of places that need volunteers.
Here are some strategies for avoiding afternoon fatigue:
- The last cup of caffeinated coffee, soda, or tea that your parents drank should be eight hours before bedtime. Additionally, alcoholic beverages prevent sound sleep.
- A diet heavy in fried, sugary, and fatty meals drains the body. Instead, provide equally delicious and healthful meals and snacks.
- Turn off all electronic gadgets two hours before going to bed. The body clock and sleep cycles of your loved one may be thrown off by the blue light they emit.
In addition, the ability of elders to live independently may be hampered by several age-related health issues. However, if their families choose to hire elder care specialists, many of the difficulties they encounter may be simpler to handle. Families in Winnipeg may rely on highly qualified caregivers to keep their loved ones secure and at ease as they age in place. Therefore, home care assistance will work with you to create a care plan that is especially suitable for the requirements of your loved one.
How to get the right amount of sleep?
Even though sleep is beneficial and therapeutic, especially for elderly people, it shouldn’t take up much of their day. Therefore, finding the ideal balance between sleep and awakeness is crucial. Naturally, this is simpler if you are aware of the root cause of your excessive tiredness. Here are some adjustments that could result in greater sleep quality, depending on the issues we’ve discussed:
- Staying active: Depending on their health and ability, seniors will engage in different physical activities at different intensities. Regular walks, light jogging or aerobics, Pilates, or exercises suggested by a physical therapist can all be included in the list of activities.
- Being social: Isolation frequently causes despair and boredom. Seniors need to stay in touch with their loved ones and interact with their peers. A fun pastime might include joining a group, such as a reading club or an amateur theater.
- Analyzing the application of drugs: Ask your doctor to examine all the prescribed and over-the-counter medications you are taking for chronic diseases to look for possible drug interactions. Perhaps some options could treat medical disorders just as well while preventing excessive sleepiness.
- Therapy: Talking with a psychologist or a psychiatrist can help address depression, which is frequently the root of elderly people’s excessive exhaustion and daytime sleepiness.
- Bedtime schedule: One of the greatest strategies to enhance sleep quality and get the required number of hours of zzz’s is to maintain a consistent sleep habit and bedtime schedule.
Furthermore, no matter your age, accepting change and learning to live with it can be quite challenging. Many things are different for seniors, including their physical, psychological, and social well-being. As we get older, we must accept these changes while also making every effort to live happy and fulfilling lives. No matter our age, taking care of our physical, emotional, and mental health is a lifetime effort. A crucial step in this procedure is sleep.
In addition to the quantity of time spent in bed, the quality of sleep is what defines healthy sleep, and being overly sleepy might be problematic. Contact Landmark Senior Living if you’ve realized that you need to work on areas of your life other than sleeping, such as creating a plan for domestic help. We provide assisted living and memory care, and we can assist your loved one with any needs they may have, from basic daily duties to more involved care.
How does aging affect sleep?
People are affected differently by aging. While some senior citizens may not experience any substantial sleep interruptions, others report receiving less sleep and having worse sleep quality. Experts have identified various typical sleep disorders in older persons, including:
- Changing sleep schedule: The body’s circadian rhythms advance in time as people get older. A phase advance is a term for this change. This phase advance is commonly experienced by older persons as earlier afternoon fatigue and earlier morning awakenings.
- Waking up at night: Sleep architecture changes as people age, according to research, which may explain why they frequently wake up at night. The term “sleep architecture” describes how humans transition between the various sleep stages. Adults over the age of 50 spend less time in the later, deeper stages of sleep and more time in the earlier, lighter ones. These changes could be a factor in elderly adults waking up more frequently during the night7 and getting less restful, fragmented sleep.
- Napping during the day: According to research, older persons nap about 25% of the time, compared to younger adults who snooze about 8% of the time8. While some experts contend that a brief nap during the day may be advantageous, the majority of them concur that longer naps and naps taken later in the day can interfere with nocturnal sleep and make it more difficult to fall asleep at nightfall.
- Longer time to recover from sleep schedule changes: Age-related alterations in the body’s circadian rhythm regulation make it harder for older people to adjust to abrupt changes in their sleep schedules, such as those that occur during daylight saving time or when experiencing jet lag.
Do seniors require less sleep?
The national institute on aging claims that it is a myth that elderly people need less sleep than younger people. Although many older persons struggle to get the sleep they require, this does not mean that they require less sleep. Therefore, from childhood to adulthood, a person’s desire for sleep can diminish, but this trend seems to come to a halt around the age of 60. According to National Sleep Foundation recommendations10, those over 65 should receive seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Advantages of sleep for old people
At any age, getting a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining health and fitness, but as we get older, the significance of sleep increases. Hence, the ten benefits of sleep for seniors are listed below;
Decreases risk of dementia
What’s more, researchers think that while we sleep, the brain’s “waste clearance” function clears out pollutants, maintaining the health of our brains. According to research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, getting enough sleep is essential for avoiding dementia and potentially dying too soon.
In addition, “Given the beneficial effects of physical activity on the risk of sleep disturbance, these findings indicate that not only maintaining appropriate sleep duration but also modification of lifestyle behaviors related to sleep may be an effective strategy for preventing dementia and premature death in elderly adults,” the study’s authors write in their conclusion.
Improves immune system
Instead of using their energy to perform all the various tasks our bodies need to perform while we are awake, viruses and diseases that may be afflicting us can be fought while our bodies are resting during sleep.
Since a lack of sleep impairs the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and colds, getting enough rest is essential to maintaining health. Sleep not only improves health, but it also affects how we treat colds and viruses once they have already invaded our bodies. However, our body can fight off illness best when we are asleep.
Increases emotional well-being
Everybody has seen a worn-out toddler. Lack of sleep has the same negative effects on adults and even seniors as it does on children. While we may respond to situations differently than a young child would, sleep deprivation makes us crankier than it would be if we got a good night’s rest.
Repairs damaged cells and tissues
Rest provides our bodies with the time they need to heal, whether it’s the brain or an injury. Our bodies work to undo the harm that the day has done while we sleep. Our bodies can focus their energies on healing and restoration while taking a break from all other activities.
A shower’s lifespan is correlated with either too much or too little sleep. According to one of the greatest research on the subject, sleeping for less than five and a half hours and more than seven hours both shorten lifespan.
Chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia are all associated with inflammation in the body. Sleep has been demonstrated to lower inflammatory proteins linked to various diseases.
Being creative is essential for good aging. Even if disease makes it difficult to express oneself, creativity is a terrific way for seniors to do so through singing, writing, painting, and other forms of expression. Therefore, our brains rearrange and reconstruct memories and abilities while we sleep, which fosters greater creativity and a fresh viewpoint.
Helps to maintain a healthy weight
A healthy weight can be sustained with sleep. Because the same parts of the brain regulate both sleep and metabolism, the same hormones that make us drowsy also govern our appetite. According to a University of Chicago study, dieters who were well-rested shed 56% more fat and greater muscle mass than those who were sleep deprived.
Reduced stress can be achieved through sleep. Regular sleep patterns can help you feel calmer, focus better, control your mood, and even make better decisions. With a good night’s sleep, we can solve problems more effectively and handle the stress and worry of the day more effectively. Lack of sleep can affect one’s ability to think clearly, which can lead to problems in relationships and at work.
Reduces falls and accidents
A major expense is the underappreciated condition of sleepiness. In actuality, driving while fatigued can be just as risky as driving while intoxicated. Lack of sleep can impair situational awareness and reflexes, which can result in falls and car accidents, which can worsen seniors’ health issues.
Older folks tend to sleep lighter and frequently wake up during the night with aching joints or a desire to use the restroom. Many people make up for this missing sleep by taking a daytime nap that will restore them. That is typical.
When an elderly person spends most of the day snoozing in a chair rather than participating in life, daytime sleepiness becomes a problem. This form of daytime dozing seems to be particularly common among people with dementia, who occasionally lose interest in meals and even fail to recognize when they need to use the restroom.