It’s estimated that upwards of 7 out of 10 older adults have problems falling and staying asleep. A variety of issues lead to sleep issues. Nocturia or nighttime urination impacts the sleep of as many as 80 percent of older adults. Arthritis pain can wake an older adult up and lead to tossing and turning to find a comfortable position.
Sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and depression are also reasons older adults have a hard time getting enough sleep. Ideally, your dad wants eight hours of sleep per night. Less than seven is detrimental and can impact his mental and physical health. How much is he getting?
How to Get Your Dad to Improve His Sleep
How do you help your dad get enough sleep each night? Start with making sure he exercises every day. If he takes a long nap each afternoon, it’s going to impact his sleep at night. Instead, he should get up and take a walk at the time he usually feels like napping.
Instead of sleeping all morning and getting up in the afternoon, your dad needs to establish a regular sleep routine. He needs to go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, and avoid straying from that cycle. If he finds it hard to settle in at night, he should try reading for an hour before he turns out the lights. White noise and a relaxing scent like lavender may help.
Limit liquids so that your dad is less likely to wake up with a full bladder in the middle of the night. He should aim to have his last glass of water about three or four hours before bedtime. If he’s thirsty, he should take sips of water rather than a full glass.
If he likes to have coffee after dinner, he should switch to decaf. Caffeine may make it harder for him to sleep at night. If he drinks beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages, he should limit those too. It will make it easier for his body to settle down and drift into a normal sleep pattern.
Rule Out Medical Conditions
Take your dad to his doctor and rule out medical conditions like sleep apnea. If you suspect he does have sleep apnea, he needs to have it addressed before it causes dangerous health issues if the airway collapses. Depression, sleep behavior disorders, heart disease, and cognitive issues should be addressed.
Hire caregivers to help your dad with his daily exercise routines, medications, and diet. If he’s supported at home and kept to a schedule, he may find it easier to get a full night’s sleep. Caregivers are easily scheduled by calling a home care agency.