Why Do Seniors Not Sleep Well?

Circadian Rhythm Changes

Older adults may experience changes to their circadian rhythm, which can impact sleep quality. This may lead them to feel tired throughout the day and make it hard for them to fall asleep at night.Possible explanations for these changes could include decreased melatonin production and/or an increase in deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) duration. This can make it challenging for seniors to get enough rest.These changes are also linked to a decrease in the frequency of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which could potentially lead to insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Physical Changes

Seniors often experience poor sleep quality due to physical changes that come with age, such as changes in melatonin production. One of the most prevalent sleep disorders among seniors is insomnia. This condition presents when they have trouble falling asleep or have trouble staying asleep once they do get to bed.Another condition that may make it difficult to sleep is REM behavior disorder (RBD). RBD occurs during the REM stage of sleep, when you dream.At this stage of sleep, it's common for people to act out their dreams. However, in RBD (Reverse Brain Dysfunction), the chemical that paralyses muscles during REM sleep does not function properly and seniors may yell or move their bodies without conscious awareness.Physical issues can interfere with older adults' ability to sleep and put them at greater risk for other health conditions. This puts them at an increased likelihood of suffering from heart disease, strokes, cognitive decline and other long-term issues.

Mental Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of life for both young and old alike.While it's normal to experience some stress from time to time, when it becomes overwhelming or chronic it can lead to health issues and depression. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for seniors to sleep soundly at night.Seniors can take steps to reduce their stress levels. For instance, participating in an organized exercise regimen and keeping a daily journal can help combat feelings of anxiety or frustration.

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