Sleep Problems in the Elderly

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Along with the physical changes that occur as we get older, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. Dr. Edward Hill discusses some common sleep problems in the elderly in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Problems with sleep are common in the elderly. As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger.

The causes of disordered sleep 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

nighttime confusion from disorientation

The treatment of 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.