Insomnia

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As people get older, certain changes happen to their sleep patterns. They spend less time sleeping, the number and the length of times spent awake at night increases, and there is a drop in deep sleep and an increase in drowsiness and fatigue during the day.

Furthermore, changes in medication, inactivity, depressive states and even the environment can also affect how an elderly dependent person sleeps.

Reducing rest times is just as harmful to a dependent person’s health as it is to the care provider. A good sleep schedule will have a direct and positive effect on the relaxation, wellbeing and health of you both.

  • The right amount of rest is essential for the dependent person’s health
  • It is important to know the person’s sleeping and waking habits, as well as having simple guidelines to help him or her relax and sleep
  • Carers also need to look after their sleep, as it can affect their own rest, and should try to establish little routines to help

Recommendations:

  • Try to always go to bed and get up at the same time. It is recommended to get six to eight hours of sleep
  • Try to ensure the person has nothing to worry about before going to sleep, and does not obsess about being able to fall asleep
  • Try to prevent the person from sleeping during the day
  • Limit siesta or nap time to one hour and only if it won’t cause problems sleeping at night. Naps should be taken at the same time every day so as to maintain a routine
  • Avoid heavy dinners and stimulants such as tea or coffee before going to bed
  • Reduce the intake of liquids before bed time to prevent need to get up to urinate in the middle of the night
  • Create a pleasant atmosphere for bed time: quiet, well ventilated, a good temperature, etc.
  • Follow a routine before going to bed: visit the bathroom, drink an infusion or a glass of warm milk, listen to relaxing music, read, pray, etc.
  • A massage or a deep-breathing exercise can help with relaxation
  • If none of this helps with relaxation or falling asleep, check with the nurse / doctor in case treatment to combat insomnia is needed

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

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