Insomnia is a common sleep disorder for many. It is characterized by a persistent difficulty of falling asleep or remaining asleep even though you have the opportunity to do so. People with insomnia experience excessive daytime sleepiness as well as other cognitive impairments that are related to the lack of sleep. People may experience sleep-onset insomnia, which is difficulty falling asleep. Or sleep maintenance insomnia, which is difficulty staying asleep. Some people even experience both types.
According to studies, 10 to 30% of adults have insomnia. People who are aged 60 and older are more susceptible to insomnia and this is linked to a few different factors. Older adults are at a higher risk of having psychiatric or medical conditions that can lead to them having symptoms of insomnia. Other sleep disorders include restless legs syndrome or sleep-disordered breathing. Our internal circadian clocks and cycles change as we age, and they affect how long and well we sleep. Certain medications that are used to help other medical conditions can actually lead to sleep disturbances too.
The stimulus control technique comes from the idea that people should only go to bed when they are tired. Lying awake can be detrimental to getting a good night’s rest. If a person stays in bed for more than 20 minutes without falling asleep, it is better for them to get up and read a book until they feel tired again. Besides that, they should avoid taking naps during the day and set a regular time to sleep and wake up every day.
Many people with insomnia are told to keep a sleep journal to record the time they spent sleeping, how long it takes for them to fall asleep, and other key patterns. Based on these records, the doctor can tell the patient how to restrict their time spent in bed until their sleep patterns improve. Sleep efficiency is known as the ratio between the time spent asleep and the time spent awake in bed every night. When an individual is able to sleep for about 90% of the time in bed, they can start going to sleep earlier.
Various Forms Of Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is available to help older adults to figure out the negative attitude and inaccurate beliefs they have about sleep. Then, they can replace them with more positive and well-informed ones. For older adults who sleep and wake up relatively early, having timed exposure to bright lights in the evening helps to keep them awake for a bit longer and thus fall asleep at a later time.
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