People tend to sleep more lightly as they get older. Midnight awakenings due to aches or bathroom needs are common occurrences for the elderly, as well as taking a nap during the day to make up for lost sleep at night.
Daytime sleepiness is more common among the elderly, which can be a concern if a loved one is seeming to spend all their time in bed or on the couch instead of being a part of the world around them. If you want an elderly person to be more awake in the day and sleep better at night, you must identify the causes of their excessive napping. This may require the intervention of a doctor, but you can take steps to attempt to address it at home first.
People may develop conditions that restrict them from doing their favorite activities as they age. When travel, movement, and entertainment are limited, it can devastate quality of life. They may not be clinically depressed or physically exhausted in such cases, but their daytime napping may be a result of being extremely bored. With no routine to adhere to and little to look forward to, they may respond by sleeping through the day.
Many elderly people take four or more prescription medications, and all medications have side effects. It should not be surprising that multiple medications can interact and cause excessive daytime sleepiness.
Depression is not a normal part of aging, and yet it sadly affects many elderly people. Sleep disturbances and exhaustion are both symptoms of clinical depression.