The Mystery of Senior Insomnia

January 19, 2012

 

aging parentsIt was a Sunday morning. I had planned to sleep in and catch up on what sleep I missed during the week. My bed was nice and warm, comfortable; there was no other place I wanted to be. Deep dreams swirled around me until a piercing screech broke through them. I woke with a jolt and for a moment couldn’t figure out what it was. It was my cell phone.

I jumped up and groggily ran to the bookshelf where my phone buzzed and screamed. The caller I.D. said, “Mom”. I feared the worst. What should I think when my mother calls me at 5:30 on a Sunday morning?aging parents

“Hi Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing’s wrong dear. I was calling to see if you wanted to get breakfast this morning. We could go to the diner.”

After agreeing to pick her up at 8 (o’clock) to go to the diner, I collapsed back into bed.

Why does it seem like the older she got the less she needs sleep? It’s like when I was in my twenties. I could survive on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. But my mother is in her 80’s.

After the next appointment, I took her doctor aside.

“She seems to be sleeping less and less. It worries me that she isn’t getting enough sleep, and she might be getting sick. Is there anything wrong?”

He assured me there was nothing wrong.

“It has been found that in seniors’ circadian rhythms often become imbalanced. Circadian rhythms are natural rhythms in the body that regulate sleep patterns. When a person grows older, often these rhythms get a bit off beat, if you will.” He said. “Your mother is also taking several medications. Even if circadian rhythms are functioning the same way they always have, many medications can affect sleep patterns. Sleeping less and waking earlier seems to be a normal part of growing older. Older adults commonly sleep 20 minutes less than middle aged adults and middle aged adults usually sleep 23 minutes less than young adults. There’s nothing wrong with your mother.”

This laid my fears to rest. If only I could help my mother rest. I still would like to know how to help her sleep more regularly. Often I find she has been up until close to midnight and then wakes at 5 or so. The next day she is exhausted and takes frequent naps. I’m going to do some research, when I find out some more information I’ll be  sure to share it with all of you.

Chris Lerch, Owner Home Instead Senior Care Houston
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit
from our vast array of home care services inHouston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full-time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.

 

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Chris M. Lerch, Owner

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.

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