Causes of sleep problems in the elderly

Causes of sleep problems in the elderly

A high percentage of people over 65 have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia and awakenings during the night. If that is your case, let us know its causes. Aging affects all the functions performed by the body and also influences the quality of sleep. Different studies, including Sleep Disorders in the elderly and in dementias, by professionals, indicate that sleep disorders are very frequent among adults.

Older due, among other reasons to the physiological changes that the person experiences over the years and that entail a reduction of the time spent in slow sleep and an increase in light sleep. This situation generates a vicious circle since it tends to have more awakenings during the night to get out of bed at a very early hour and to sleep an excessive time during the day, which in turn makes night-time sleep difficult.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that manifests with a waking state at bedtime. According to the World Health Organization can differentiate 88 sleep disorders, but among them, insomnia is the most frequent, affecting 8-10% of the adult population. Although the causes for which older people have this problem are very varied, it is considered that the following are the main ones:

•    Reduction of the need for sleep due to a lower capacity for brain regeneration.

•    Loss of ability to adequately regulate circadian rhythms so that, compared to a young adult, their night-time sleep is lower but the daytime greater.

•    Reduction of daytime activity.

•    The condition of any pathology. Experts point out that any pathology can directly affect the quality of sleep, and even the effects of some of them are only reflected during the night, such as restless legs syndrome.

•    Psychological problems, such as anxiety or depression, also reduce the ability to sleep at night and affect the quality of sleep.

•    The taking of certain medications makes rest difficult because they can cause the alteration of the secretion of melatonin. A hormone that intervenes in the regulation of sleep. The increase in the urge to urinate, or a greater state of alertness. Among the drugs that may have these side effects are some used for the treatment of hypertension, corticosteroids, and antidepressants, among others.

•    Self-medication to sleep, since the lack of control by a health professional for the treatment of insomnia, can have the opposite effect.

•    Bad habits of life, such as the intake of alcohol or exciting substances, sedentary lifestyle and smoking, negatively affect rest.