Insomnia in Seniors
One of the main problems we have been seen in some of our clients is the lack of restful sleep and although for everyone is well known how important sleep is, many simply do not remember when it was the last time they achieved a night with the 8 hours that experts recommend. The causes of insomnia in seniors are very varied and affect more than 70 million of Americans in which more than 20 have chronic problems to fall asleep.
Cause or effect.
Stress, anxiety and depression are some of the most common causes of chronic insomnia but having difficulty sleeping can also make anxiety, stress, and depression worse promoting a downward spiral. In addition, other common emotional and psychological causes like anger, worry, grief, and traumas can exacerbate stress complementing a vicious cycle that is imperative to be broken to overcome the problem.
The action plan to improve sleep.
In a plan to improve rest and sleep it is important to start with the simplest variables that normally addresses most of the results. For instance, simple sun stimulation or the lack of minerals like magnesium, potassium and vitamins such as D and B12 are common causes of lack of sleep. These minerals and vitamins are essential to prepare the body for an adequate production of melatonin and a relaxed state to rest. But the answer is not always in expensive supplements. If the digestion is not going well and the absorption of nutrients is compromised, supplementation won’t solve anything. Improving digestion can be very effective and can be addressed at home through healthy cooking and the right recipes.
If you cant control it, cope,
When causes of stress are complex It is important to promote the appropriate signals in which the body knows when to be active and when to slow down and relax. This might be done through sunlight by stimulating the pineal gland that defines the Circadian Rhythm which is the central command that sends the signals through the correct secretion of hormones that set up at what time you may or may not sleep. Good habits like at what time wake up, exercise, stay active, receive natural light (SUN) and avoid the blue light from electronic devices at night, are critical for a good night sleep. For those who have lived with complex problems where stress avoidance is not an option, to send signals to the brain to calm down and relax might help. The signals are change in breathing, from pectoral to abdominal breathing, making breathing deeper and slower, removing the mind from the past (fear) and the future (anxiety) and concentrating on the present. A bath before sleep, or a simple stretching exercise in addition to a cold face wash can signal to the brain that the “supposed” danger has passed and that there is no threat for which it is worth being awake.
For even more effective stimulation, acupressure exercises on some of the meridian points in the neck, lower back and adrenal glands can help the body to relax in a very effective way. For problems where waking up at midnight is the challenge and retaking sleep is difficult it is very important to reset the circadian cycle. White sounds can help a lot to retake sleep and a good morning exercise surely can help a lot.
For more complex cases it is important to check if the root of the problem is not at the thyroid, the Liver or any gallbladder problem. That this why always is very important to have professional help.
How a caregiver can assist with a sleep improvement plan
At Assisting Hands we help our clients to find the causes of sleep deterioration and help them to implement plans at home where aspects such as nutrition, exercise, relaxation and good routines are the fundamentals that have brought us incredible results. Digestion support, cooking the right foods with nutritious and healthy recipes, deep breathing exercises, walking, self-guided acupressure, circadian rhythm synchronization are some of the topics that our caregivers may deliver to improve the well-being of our clients.
This blog was inspired by our first client, who believed in our holistic approach and started fixing her insomnia and depression.