Sleep disorders are a common problem in older adults. When you are young, your sleep patterns will stay healthy, but as you get older, sleep habits and patterns can change. As the main result, you will have:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Get less quality sleep
- Wake up frequently in the night
- Sleep fewer hours than before
This particular issue could lead to severe health concerns such as daytime fatigue and risk for falling.
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Many older people report trouble in maintaining good night sleep as well as difficulty in falling asleep. According to behavioral studies, specific medication could cause inability to get good night sleep and other physical side effects such as nausea.
Therefore, it is crucial to speak with your doctor in case that you have trouble sleeping. You will see benefits from lifestyle changes that will help you get a good night sleep.
Main Causes For Sleep Disorders In Adults
Primary Sleep Disorders
A primary sleep disorder means that there are no other psychiatric or medical causes for sleep deprivation. They can be:
- Sleep Apnea – Brief interruption in breathing during the sleep which could cause more severe issues if you don’t treat it right.
- Insomnia – Difficulty is staying asleep, falling asleep and having a restless sleep without benefits as other people.
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) – This is a problem that happens among adults, and it is overwhelming and reflex need to move your leg during sleep
- Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders – It means a disrupted sleep-wake cycle. Click here to learn more about it.
- Periodic Limb Movement Disorder – Involuntary movement of limbs during sleep
- REM Behavior Disorder – Vivid dreams during the rest that could cause psychological issues
Insomnia could be both disorder and symptom. There are some conditions such as anxiety, depression, and dementia that could also increase sleeping disorder, especially insomnia.
Another reason for sleep problems could be due to existing conditions that could interfere with sleeping patterns. These conditions include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Arthritis pain or other chronic illness that will increase inability to enjoy in good night sleep
- Cardiovascular issues
- Neurological conditions
- Lung or respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Poor bladder control
Sleep Deprivation Due To Medication Use
Many adults use medication that could cause sleep disruption. These include:
- Anticholinergics for people with the obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Diuretics for glaucoma or high blood pressure
- Antihypertensive drugs for high blood pressure
- Corticosteroids for arthritis
- H2 blockers for gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Adrenergic drugs for cardiac arrest or asthma attacks. Visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrenergic_agonist to get more information on adrenergic agonist drugs.
- Levodopa for Parkinson’s disease
How To Diagnose Sleep Disorders?
If you want to make a diagnosis, your doctor will ask for the symptoms you have, and he will conduct a physical examination and evaluation. The idea is to check for underlying conditions. At the same time, the doctor may ask you to make a sleep diary for two weeks so that he can understand and analyze your sleeping patterns.
Sometimes the doctor may suspect on primary sleep disorder, which means that he will send you for a polysomnogram, that will provide you a precise diagnosis on what happens during the sleep. You should have in mind that sleep study means that you will have to go to sleep lab at night.
The idea is to sleep generally as you would at home, while technicians will place sensors that will monitor your:
- Body movement
- Noises such as snoring
- Brain activity
- Heart rate
They will also set a device that will measure the oxygen level in your blood during the seep. The technician will watch you through a video camera, and you will be able to talk with them in case you need any help.
During the sleep, the devices will record your information on a graph. After night passes, the doctor will be able to use those graphs as the key to understanding the diagnosis and reasons why you have sleep disorders.