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Sleep Disorders And Aging


Occasional insomnia   is normal. If you have insomnia on a regular basis, you should see your health care provider about it. Nightly insomnia lasting more than a few nights warrants a visit to your health care provider.

Sleep hygiene refers to sleep-improving lifestyles and habits. Changing your lifestyle and habits improves many sleep problems; therefore, sleep disorder treatment begins with improved sleep hygiene.

  • Maintain a regular wake-up time.
  • Maintain a regular time to go to sleep.
  • Avoid or decrease daytime naps.
  • Exercise daily but not immediately before bedtime.
  • Use the bed only for sleeping or sex.
  • Do not read or watch television in bed.
  • Do not use bedtime as worry time.
  • Avoid heavy meals at bedtime.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bedtime.
  • Maintain a routine period of preparation for bed, (for example, washing up and brushing teeth).
  • Control the nighttime environment with comfortable temperature, quietness, and darkness.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes to bed.
  • If unable to sleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and perform a soothing activity, such as listening to soft music or reading, but avoid exposure to bright light during these times.
  • Get adequate exposure to bright light during the day.

Overweight people who are habitual loud snorers may be helped by weight loss  . If you snore loudly, abstain from alcohol or sedatives before going to bed. You also should avoid sleeping on your back.

Avoid nonprescription, over-the-counter sleep aids. Examples are preparations that contain diphenhydramine (Benadryl), such as Tylenol PM. Their side effects can be very profound in older people.


Your health care provider probably will ask you to return for one or more follow-up visits.

Sleep disorders often can be at least partly prevented by developing healthy sleep habits.

See your health care provider regularly for proper care of any medical or mental problems.

Others things you can do to prevent or reduce sleeping disturbances:

  • Take medications (prescription and nonprescription) only as directed.
  • Get some exercise   every day.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal close to bedtime.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for several hours before bedtime.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid daytime naps.
  • Use your bed only for sleeping or sex.
  • Try not to use bedtime as worry time.

Sleep patterns change as we age. Persistent insomnia   or daytime sleepiness is not a part of normal aging. Sleep disturbances are treatable or improve with treatment of the underlying condition.


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