Many older adults develop sleep problems. Some of them experience insomnia, a condition characterized by being unable to fall asleep. They may not be able to get to sleep when they first go to bed, or they might wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep. Insomnia, of course, leaves sufferers feeling tired during the day.
A new study suggests that being tired isn’t the only problem associated with insomnia, it may also the risk for heart disease and stroke.
About the Study
To determine if insomnia and heart disease are linked, scientists looked at available data from four studies. The first set of data came from a study on coronary artery disease that involved 184,305 participants. The second set came from a study on atrial fibrillation and involved 588,190 participants. The third set came from a heart failure study with 394,156 participants. The fourth set came from a stroke study with 438,847 participants.
The results of the study showed that people with genes for insomnia had:
- A 12 percent higher risk for coronary artery disease.
- A 16 percent higher risk of heart failure.
- A 7 percent higher risk of stroke.
- No change in risk for atrial fibrillation.
This kind of study does not prove that having insomnia causes heart disease or stroke. However, it does show an association between the two, suggesting that it may be even more important to deal with insomnia than we previously thought.
How to Improve Sleep for Insomniacs
If your aging relative suffers from insomnia, there are things you can do to help them get to sleep and stay asleep at night.
Some tips for reducing insomnia are:
Set a Schedule: Waking up at the same time each morning and going to bed at the same time each night helps to re-set the body’s internal clock and can make it easier to get to sleep at night. It can also help older adults to stay asleep through the night. Seniors need to stick to the schedule every day, even if they had trouble falling asleep the night before.
Avoid Naps: It seems like taking a nap during the day is a good idea if the older adult didn’t sleep well the night before. However, that can make it harder to sleep at night. While it’s difficult to get through the day feeling tired, it can help to train the body to go to sleep at night.
Wind Down at Night: Switching to calming activities that don’t involve a screen can encourage sleep. Reading and listening to soothing music are both good options.
Home care services can help seniors to establish habits that make sleeping at night easier. A home care services provider can come at the same time each day to get the older adult out of bed and ready for their day. A home care services provider can also keep the senior active during the day, so they are not tempted to nap.
If you or a senior family member are considering hiring Home Care Services in Totowa NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today at (973) 427-3553.
I started my career as an ICU nurse over 30 years ago. I have functioned as an educator and preceptor mentoring new nurses in the clinical arena. I have sat on many Patient Care committees authoring a variety of patient care protocols.
In 2007, I saw an opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care services in the home and founded Caring Solutions Home Care. Over the last 10 years I have functioned as the Director of Nursing overseeing all client care, administrative and personnel operations.