Top 6 Sleep Disorders Among the Elderly

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6 Common Sleeping Disorders for Seniors

By Mark Febus, 9:00 am on September 7, 2016

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep disorders. However, many of these conditions are very common in elderly people. Seniors might have problems sleeping due to medical conditions, certain medications or from alcohol or caffeine consumption. If a problem becomes chronic, medical intervention may become necessary. Following are six of the most common sleep disorders Dayton at-home caregivers should watch out for.

1. Circadian Rhythm Malfunctions

The brain naturally produces and releases melatonin and serotonin when darkness falls as a signal to the body that bedtime is near. However, in someone with circadian rhythm disruptions, the brain does not respond to normal daytime and nighttime signals. As such, serotonin levels become insufficient, which results in erratic sleep/wake patterns. 

2. Insomnia

The National Sleep Foundation reports that up to 44 percent of older adults suffer from insomnia. The condition might occur a few nights each week or become chronic after a month’s time. When seniors have insomnia, they are incapable of going to sleep or staying asleep throughout the night.

3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Loud snoring is often the first symptom that an adult suffers from sleep apnea. This condition is caused by the relaxation of soft tissues in the mouth, which causes people to stop breathing for 10 to 60 seconds multiple times throughout the night.

4. Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Also referred to as nocturnal myoclonus, the condition causes involuntary movement of the arms and legs while sleeping. The act can awaken someone throughout the night, which deprives the person of restful sleep. Statistics indicate that up to one third of adults over the age of 60 suffer from this problem. 

5. Restless Leg Syndrome

A burning, cramping or tingling in the legs while trying to fall asleep or while asleep causes the body to react by changing the position of the legs. Constantly shifting position of the legs interferes with restful sleep and causes seniors to be tired throughout the day. 

6. Abnormal REM Sleep

Under normal circumstances, people fall into REM or rapid eye movement sleep each night. It is this phase of sleep that produces dreams. However, someone who has REM Sleep Behavior Disorder may begin acting out his or her dreams. He or she may become extremely vocal, exhibit active muscle movement and even rise out of bed. 

With help from Home Care Assistance of Dayton, seniors learn to adopt balanced daily and nightly routines that consist of healthy diet, physical exercise, and adequate sleep. Our flexible live-in and hourly caregivers are available 24/7 to accommodate your loved one’s unique needs by helping with everything from medication reminders and personal care to mobility assistance and meal preparation. Contact us at 937-353-7997 today to meet with a trusted Care Manager and customize a care plan for your loved one.

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