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Sleepless in Vancouver
Monday, February 20, 2006
People say you sleep less when you get old. Does this happen to everyone? And should I keep on taking sleeping pills once in a while if it puts me to sleep?
is a common affliction as we get older. As we age, we typically have
shallower sleep and fragmentation becomes more common. There are a
number of signs and symptoms of insomnia:
- Having a hard time staying asleep. You may also have problems with waking up too early.
- Having a hard time falling asleep (taking 30 to 45 minutes or longer to fall asleep).
- Waking up many times each night.
- Feeling tired, irritable (cranky) and having a hard time concentrating (focusing on one thing) during the day.
may be driven by a number of factors, so you should find out what is
causing loss of sleep in your case. The following is a list of possible
causes for insomnia:
- Medical conditions: pain or health conditions (Alzheimer’s disease, allergies, heart disease, asthma, etc)
disorders: a large number of seniors point depression or a
psychological factor as the main cause of chronic insomnia.
- Hormonal fluctuations in women / Hormonal changes during aging
- Nightly leg problems: restless legs or leg cramps are common causes of insomnia, particularly in seniors.
- Eating habits: drinking coffee before bed or going to bed with a full or empty stomach.
- Genetic factors: someone in the family might have had this problem before.
sleeping pills is not necessarily the best solution for everyone,
especially for older people; they are twice as likely to experience an
adverse event as they are to gain a better quality of sleep from
sleeping pills. Therefore, it is also important for you to try all
non-drug treatments to insomnia before you consider medication. If the
non-drug treatments do not help, talk to your physician. You can do the
following non-drug treatments to increase the quality of your sleep
- Do not watch TV, read, or eat in bed. Use your bed only for sleep or intimacy.
- Create a comfortable bedroom environment.
- Go to bed only when you feel tired.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This will help your system schedule your sleep time.
- Before going to bed, avoid caffeine-containing products, alcohol, and nicotine
- Exercise regularly but not too close to your desired bedtime.
- Avoid feeling full or hungry before going to bed.
- Avoid taking long naps during the day.
- Try relaxation techniques.