Sleeping can sometimes be a real issue with elderly people. Actually, getting enough sleep can be a real issue with most people! When it comes to learning about how much sleep a person needs, don’t pull the covers over your head. Children often resist going to bed; they just don’t want to miss anything. What if something fun happens? They don’t want to miss out. Sleeping somehow sucks the fun out of everything.
Then in the teenage years, they are sleeping all the time. Sleeping late, sleeping in, can’t get up to the alarm clock in the morning, staying up late and sleeping past noon.
Middle age comes along and the person is holding down two jobs and juggling a family. They would love to get more sleep, but just can’t find the time! Things change again as a person approaches retirement and beyond. However, there are a few myths surrounding how much sleep an older person really needs. We are going to pull the covers off those myths!
- Older people need less sleep – False. They don’t have the same sleep requirements as growing children, but their sleep requirements don’t really change through adulthood to old age. There may be sleep disruptions because of illness or medications, but that doesn’t change the sleep requirements.
- It is okay to catch up on lost sleep another night – False. Your mom’s in-home care provider is worried about her because she stays up late playing solitaire a few nights in a row and then tries to catch up by sleeping in past noon. Trying to play the sleep catch-up game only serves to wreak havoc on the person’s sleep cycle.
- It’s always a bad thing to wake up in the middle of the night – False. It may be highly annoying to have to make that night-time trip to use the bathroom, but it isn’t necessarily detrimental to an established sleep cycle. It’s actually not that uncommon for a person to wake up and need to go to the bathroom in the night, depending on how much and how late they drink. The key is training oneself to go back to sleep quickly.
- Nothing about a person’s sleep will change as they get older – False. Even though the hours of sleep a person needs may not change, sleep does become more fragile; less restful. Sleep is lighter and easier to disrupt with age. If the light comes in or the mattress isn’t just right or there is pain somewhere in the body, all these things can disrupt sleep for the senior adult.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from home care services in Concord, CA contact the caregivers at Hillendale Home Care. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (925) 948-8280 for more information.