A good night’s sleep is essential to feeling good throughout the day. Sleep habits can change with age, however, and special attention must be paid to the elderly to ensure they’re getting enough rest. A hospital stay can disrupt sleep, and recovering from an acute medical event at home may help to restore natural sleep patterns.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, older adults can have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. This can be exacerbated by medications and schedule disruptions, the kind that can occur after a hospital stay or an acute injury.
The National Institutes of Health offers some helpful information on how older adults can get a good night’s rest.
- Follow a regular schedule each day, going to sleep and waking up at the same time. Don’t try to nap during the day, try to get some natural light during the afternoon and develop a routine at bedtime.
- Exercise during the day, and watch what you eat. Don’t drink caffeine during the afternoon, and remember that nicotine is a stimulant. Alcohol can disrupt sleeping patterns, making it harder to stay asleep.
- Make sure a bedroom is both safe and comfortable. Darkness and quiet can help sleep. Use a bedroom only for sleeping.
Sleeping too little is associated with serious health consequences. According to the National Sleep Foundation, too little sleep can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, heart problems, or psychiatric conditions.
When recovering at home, home care workers can ensure that you or your loved one adheres to a schedule and has a comfortable place to sleep. This is especially important for older adults receiving care, for whom getting enough rest may already be hard enough.