Insomnia is a common problem among the aging population. An occasional fitful night doesn’t generally cause problems, but chronic sleeplessness can lead to fatigue, increased irritability, anxiety, and difficulty focusing. While a number of prescription sleep aids are available, there are also more natural ways to treat sleeplessness. Below are a few changes you can make for your senior loved one to help him or her address or prevent this condition.
Have a “Wind Down” Period
Insomnia can be worse if someone is stressed or keyed up before going to bed. To prevent this, talk with your loved one about having a “wind down” time of at least an hour before turning out the lights. A quiet activity like reading or listening to music can help your loved one start to relax and prepare for sleep. Try to start this “wind down” around the same time each day so your parent will get into the habit of relaxing before bedtime.
Caring for older adults with insomnia can be a difficult task. Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Restrict Fluids during the Evening
If your loved one wakes up several times during the night to urinate, falling back to sleep again might be difficult. Nighttime trips to the bathroom when someone is tired or disoriented can also lead to a fall. Restricting fluid intake, especially after dinner, can help your loved one wake up less often because of a full bladder. You might also try restricting drinks with caffeine or alcohol that can cause wakefulness and increase urination.
Chronic insomnia can dull the senses, making everyday activities difficult to perform. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality homecare services. Oshkosh families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.
Consider Natural Supplements
Melatonin, a hormone the body naturally produces, is a common and effective sleep aid. When taken orally, melatonin promotes relaxation and a natural sleep cycle. Popular herbs to promote restfulness include valerian root, kava kava, lavender, and hops. These can be taken alone, but some supplements will contain a combination of herbs to induce healthful sleep. As always, consult with a physician before your parent starts taking any new supplements to make sure they won’t interact with his or her current medications.
Sometimes seniors have a difficult time falling asleep because of stress, which can result from growing challenges with everyday activities. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Oshkosh seniors can depend on. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at (920) 573-6295 today.