Sleep problems are terrible, especially if your senior is the one having the problems. Poor sleep can even lead to health troubles, which is definitely not what you want for her.
How Long Has She Been Having Sleep Issues?
It’s important to narrow down roughly how long sleeping has been difficult for your senior. Newer issues can usually be connected to some change that is easy to spot. Older issues might be a little bit trickier but are still something you can at least try to help her to figure out.
Can She Tie Her Sleep Issues to Anything Specific?
One big reason to ask your senior how long she’s been having trouble sleeping is because that might help her to pinpoint a correlating event. For instance, she might have changed medications or dosages recently, and then had trouble sleeping. Or there might be other changes that occurred right around the same time as the sleep issues started.
Is She Waking in the Middle of the Night?
Some people have trouble falling asleep, while other people have trouble staying asleep. It can help if you can narrow down which situation is most applicable for your elderly family member. For instance, if she’s waking often because she needs the bathroom or because she has bad dreams, that’s information you can use.
Is She Sleepy During the Day?
How about daytime sleepiness? Often people who are having trouble sleeping at night find that during the day, they have trouble staying awake. It’s one of life’s cruel jokes, really. So, the next thing you need to know is whether your elderly family member is napping during the day or just powering through. Naps aren’t terrible, but excessive daytime napping can make it more difficult to sleep at night, which keeps the sleep issue cycle turning.
How Late Is She Eating and Drinking?
Food and drink, especially later in the day, can have a huge impact on your senior’s ability to sleep. Keeping a food log can help her to start to see patterns. Caffeine, spicy foods, and even just too much food or beverage can all be contributing factors.
When Does She Go to Bed and When Does She Get Up?
Sleep hygiene, or the habits around your senior’s sleeping patterns, affect her sleep a great deal. Talk to your senior about those habits. Is she going to bed later and later because she has trouble falling asleep? When she wakes up, is that around the same time every day or does she get up later than she intends?
Your senior might find it difficult to manage her sleep issues on her own. And if you and she live together, her sleep issues might be creating sleep issues for you. It can help a lot to have senior care providers handling the night shift so that you can sleep and your senior is getting help when she needs it.