Sleep Disorders in the Elderly

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sleep is a barometer of good health in the elderly. Sleep problems in the elderly are controlled by various external and internal factors. Dr. Edward Hill discusses sleep disorders in the elderly in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Problems with sleep are common in the elderly. The causes of these sleep disorders may be very different than those in younger people.

Some common causes of sleep problems in the elderly include:

- depression, with early morning awakening

- chronic arthritis pain at night

- napping during the day

- prescription or over-the-counter medications

- increased urination at night. Older people excrete most of their urine volume at night.

- drinking alcohol or caffeine at night

- congestive heart failure which worsens when you lie down and fluid shifts to the lungs, and

- night time confusion from disorientation

Treatment for each of these causes of disordered sleep depends on the specific problem. Sleeping pills can have significant side effects in an elderly person.

It is important to provide your physician a detailed pattern of the sleeping trouble, description of your symptoms, and an accurate record of medications and food intake.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.