Posted on Feb 05, 2015
Insomnia is a well-known sleep disorder that plagues many elderly people sometimes due to anxiety, depression, unfamiliar surroundings, or several other medical conditions that are accompanied by an inability to sleep.
Medical experts caution against using pharmaceutical sleep aids, such as sleeping pills, as several studies have indicated people can become too dependent on them. Additionally, complications can arise when elderly people take certain prescribed medications with a sleeping pill. Difficulty remembering things and concentrating, as well as a higher risk of falling are other concerns experts have with sleeping pills.
On the other hand, lack of sleep and fatigue also present its own abundance of problems. Fortunately, there are many tricks, remedies and natural solutions that seem to work for a lot of people.
1. Spray a sleep-inducing scent on your pillowcase. Relaxing fragrances include lavender, chamomile and ylang-ylang.
2. Set the thermostat to 65 to 75 degrees. Cool sheets lower your body temperature which triggers your body's production of melatonin—a natural hormone that controls your sleep cycle.
3. Listen to a familiar audio book as you lay in bed. A familiar story works best as a new story can keep the mind alert. Listening to something you have heard or read before is comforting and relaxing while you drift off to sleep.
4. Choose a bedtime snack that combines carbs with calcium or protein that has the amino acid tryptophan. In return, your serotonin levels increase which allows you to feel calm. Try whole-grain crackers, almonds or bananas. Cherries are another great option as they are a natural source of melatonin.
5. Avoid electronics before bed. They tend to stimulate brain activity which is the opposite of you what you want when you're crawling under the covers.
6. Do not consume caffeine after 2 p.m. or an alcoholic beverage right before bed. Studies show that if you are going to indulge in a nighttime cap before bed, it's best if you do so at least two hours before trying to sleep.
Does your loved one have trouble sleeping?