Sleep Changes in Older Adults
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Many older adults don’t get enough sleep, which can increase the risk of serious health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dr. Edward Hill discusses sleep changes in older adults in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Most adults need about eight hours of sleep to feel fully alert when they’re awake. But as you get older, you might have more trouble sleeping.

Older adults might get sleepy earlier in the evening, or they may have trouble falling asleep when they go to bed. They might not stay asleep all night. They might wake up very early in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep. These problems can make older people very sleepy in the daytime.

To help you sleep better,

• Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

• Limit naps to about 20 minutes.

• Don’t drink caffeinated beverages after lunch.

• Don’t drink alcohol in the evening.

• Ask your doctor if any of your medicines could be keeping you awake at night.

• Talk to your doctor if pain or other health problems keep you awake.

• Try to exercise every day. Exercise helps many older adults sleep better.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.