Some alarming research has emerged showing a link between those who don’t sleep well and an increased risk of suicide in the older population. The study was done over a ten-year period, showing that people who complain of sleep problems are more likely to die by suicide. And this finding came independent of depression.
While anyone at any age can have trouble sleeping, older adults tend to get less sleep than they need because falling asleep is a challenge. Insomnia affects almost half of adults 60 and older.
High-quality, restful sleep may also be but a dream. There are numerous reasons for this, such as the fact many older people contend with health issues like arthritis and chronic pain, or take medications that disrupt sound sleep.
Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle. Poor sleep can exacerbate one’s health problems while adding a few more to the list.
Sleep-deprived older adults are more likely to have a depressed mood, attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, more nighttime falls, and use more over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. None of these bodes well for one’s quality of life.
An older person does not have to accept poor sleep as a result of age. In fact, no one should think that bad sleep and age go hand in hand. There are many options and treatments available that can help get everyone the sleep they need. If you are having problems sleeping seek advice from your primary care doctor and if the answers are not quite there ask for a referral to a sleep specialist.