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Is It Dangerous for Seniors to Be Deprived of Sleep?

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

It’s important for seniors to get adequate sleep because the body needs to engage in various functions that are not addressed when awake. When sleep is deprived, these functions are not performed properly, which can lead to a host of physical, mental, and emotional complications. Chandler, AZ, elder care experts want to help families understand the causes of sleep deprivation, why it is dangerous for seniors, and what can be done to prevent it.

What Causes Elderly Insomnia?

Stress is one of the most common causes of sleep deprivation in the elderly. Many seniors experience ongoing anxiety due to their finances and health, but many other factors can affect a senior’s sleep, including chronic pain, an irregular schedule, and the consumption of stimulants, prescription painkillers, or alcohol.

What Are the Dangers of Chronic Sleep Deprivation?

Many age-related health conditions can be exacerbated by a lack of restorative sleep. Seniors who do not get enough sleep each night have much higher rates of dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. Insomnia can also impact the immune system, which increases the risk of catching dangerous illnesses such as bacterial pneumonia and influenza.

Have Natural Treatments and Lifestyle Changes Proven Effective?

Seniors can combat sleep deprivation by making a few lifestyle changes, which includes limiting the consumption of both stimulants and depressants. It is also important to have a rigid nighttime routine that mentally and physically prepares them for bed. Certain daily habits, such as taking a quick bath as the sun goes down, have been shown to naturally promote circadian rhythm adaptation. Seniors who continue to have trouble sleeping after making lifestyle changes may need to consider professional help.

Can Professional Treatment Help?

To diagnose a sleep disorder, your loved one can take an overnight test conducted at a sleep facility. During these tests, specialists monitor everything from physical movements to brain waves. With the data they obtain, they can then come up with a comprehensive treatment plan for your loved one. The use of sleeping aids might be a short-term option, but medication can cause dependency when used over a long period. Combining comprehensive lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and behavioral therapy is generally considered an effective way to treat insomnia.

To learn more about senior health and wellness, reach out to Chandler Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers are dedicated to helping seniors live healthier and happier lives and are available 24/7 to assist with a wide array of everyday tasks. In addition to respite and live-in care, we also provide comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia home care Chandler, AZ, families trust. For more information, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 480.448.6215 to schedule a free in-home consultation.