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Solutions for Insomnia in Singapore: Tips and Treatment for the Elderly

The primary consideration of insomnia has to do with how it interferes with regular daytime functioning due to little or poor sleep patterns. Having trouble snoozing or waking up repeatedly over the night and having trouble falling back asleep are two symptoms of insomnia for some people. Other people might experience unrefreshing slumber, which can be either temporary or persistent, or waking up excessively early in the morning. 

What Is Chronic Insomnia?

Sleeping issues that are persistent and distressing are the primary characteristic of insomnia. Generally, insomniacs can have a variety of symptoms, including difficulty falling asleep, frequent and prolonged nighttime wakefulness, or perhaps both.

It seems to be fairly usual to experience sleep difficulties occasionally, and as long as they are temporary or caused by something understandable and manageable, they shouldn't be a concern. However, we need to act once we can't sleep much better on our own and it starts to impact our everyday lives negatively. As opposed to a more straightforward transient sleeping issue, insomnia is defined as a persistent sleeping disorder that occurs more than three evenings every week for at least a month in a row. Short-term insomnia is characterized as insomnia that lasts less than three months, while long-term insomnia is a term for sleep issues that last for more than six months. In fact, in Singapore, about 15% of adults report having insomnia at a certain stage in their lives.

Are We in Need of a Lot of Sleep?

There can be no ideal quantity of sleep as what matters is how effectively you sleep, instead of how much sleep you get. Generally, a person's lifetime changes affect how much sleep is needed. Infants typically sleep for around 17 hours each day, however, older kids need nine to ten hours. On the other hand, the majority of middle-aged adults operate at their best after from seven to nine hours of sleep, however, some can get by on little if any as four hours whereas others require up to eleven.

Even though older adults require the same amount of sleep, they frequently only experience one deep sleep phase throughout the course of the night, typically lasting between three to four hours, and after that, they wake more quickly. Also, older adults frequently experience disrupt sleep, especially if they snooze during the daytime.

Suppose I Don’t Get Any Sleep?

The occasional evening lacking sleep will leave you feeling exhausted the following day, but it won't have a negative effect on either your physical or mental well-being. But if you have trouble falling asleep, you may start to feel weary all the time or wake up during the day. Also, you could struggle to focus and decide things, and the persistent discomfort of not getting a good night's sleep, or having to depend on sleeping pills may cause you to experience depression.

Is Sleeping a Need or a Pattern?

Sleep turns out to be an active process, despite the fact that it seems like a peaceful moment. In addition to occasional intervals of active dreaming, characterized as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, it consists of dreamless stages of intermediate and deep sleep.

The majority of adults continue to have similar sleep needs, and the recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7 to 9 hours per night. But as we get older, our sleep habits change. Averagely, elderly individuals spend less time in deep slumber and far more time in light sleep, even though their total amount of sleep time is about the same as it was when they were younger. Also, a typical complaint among elders is that they start waking up frequently at night or are constantly flitting around in bed.

In addition, in comparison with younger people, seniors tend to get up sooner in the morning due to variations in circadian rhythms, or the body's natural biological clock.

Typical Root Causes of Elderly Sleep Issues

People follow naturally sleep and waking cycles that correspond to the rhythm of both day and night according to the circadian rhythm. When we do activities that disrupt that rhythm, such as sleeping during the daylight hours and staying up late at night, or when we confuse our body with harsh artificial lights before bed, for instance, we can drastically disrupt our sleep habits.

Psychological Factors

Stress

Insomnia can be exacerbated by stress brought on by difficult situations in life, like the death or illness of a loved one or financial hardships. Sleep disturbances may be a result of relationship issues, a child with a severe illness, or an unfulfilling career. Yet, coping strategies for stress may be used to treat insomnia. Some people react to stress by developing headaches or an upset stomach. It can assist to manage insomnia when it occurs to know that you're most likely to have it and that it won't stay long.

Anxiety, Depression, or Other Psychological Disorders

It would be a smart option to see a physician if you are constantly thinking more about aspects of life that cause you to feel upset, unhappy, or anxious when you're trying to sleep. Keep in mind that we don't always have to suffer in silence when dealing with psychological trauma or sickness; help is available and you can check this guide.

Learned Insomnia

When you experience bad sleep during stressful times, you might fear that you won't be able to perform at your best during the day, and you might resolve to put forth more effort to sleep at night, but even this ends up making things worse. After a couple of nights, a few of your preparations for bed may trigger memories of your insomnia. While they are not even in bed, some patients with psychophysiological insomnia may nod off rapidly. Additionally, a month's worth of sporadic bad nights of sleep can result in psychophysiological insomnia.

Medical Conditions

These conditions may include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, heart failure with complications, menopausal hot flashes, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions, as well as an overactive thyroid and gastroesophageal reflux syndrome.

Chronic Pain and Discomfort

Simple things like an old, uncomfortable bedding or pillow or an uncomfortable temperature in the room could be the cause. Also, you could require advice from your doctor if it turns out to be a more complicated issue like a painful chronic sickness or condition.

Lifestyle Factors

Varying Shift Patterns

If we have to constantly adjust our sleep or awake periods during the day, it might be much tougher to establish a healthy sleep routine.

Stimulants

The fact that stimulants including caffeine and nicotine might make it more difficult for us to fall asleep shouldn't be too shocking. It is not a good idea to consume any caffeine or nicotine products within about 6 hours of going to bed because they can continue to have an impact on our bodies for the last several hours after use.

Night-Time Pressures

It may be difficult for you to get a good night's rest if you have other domestic responsibilities that could keep you up in the middle of the night. This may prove challenging to handle on your own without assistance from others. Certain diseases, such as those that cause persistent discomfort or breathing issues linked to lung or heart disease, can also result in insomnia. Sleep apnea, particularly, can affect both the quantity and quality of sleep.

Sleeping Disorders

The never-ending cycle of getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep results from staying up too late and then waking up until we've slept poorly. Also, it is particularly difficult to fall asleep when you look at digital screens at the end of a long day.

Alcohol

It may be tempting to consume alcohol to aid with sleep since it can cause others to feel a bit drowsy. Yet, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol might have a detrimental effect on your sleep cycles and sleep quality.

Environmental Factors

Noise

Keep the bedroom as quiet as possible. Even if they don't wake you up, noises such as televisions, radio, vehicles, and other sources of noise can keep you from falling asleep.

Light

To maintain your bedroom dark, choose drapes that are heavy or shades. Even with your eyes closed, light enters your body through your eyelids, and your sleep may be disturbed by light.

How Does Chronic Insomnia Affect the Body and Its Risk Factors?

Our daily life can be significantly adversely affected by insomnia. Even the simple act of staying awake throughout the night can have an impact on our feelings and resilience because fatigue makes it difficult to deal with problems and illnesses. However, chronic sleeplessness can have negative consequences on our health and increase our risk of contracting major illnesses. The effects of irregular sleep patterns over time can be quite harmful to our health.

Medical Illnesses

As insomnia greatly raises a person's likelihood of developing hypertension and cardiovascular illness, it is closely associated with several illnesses. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, it is most likely the result of a complex interplay of the inflammatory, neurological system, and lifestyle factors that are both related to and contribute to insomnia. Also, after a few restless nights, obtaining enough exercise can seem hard. Insomnia and obesity are related, both as causes and consequences.

Those who experience sleeplessness are more susceptible to respiratory difficulties, urination issues, chronic pain, and other ailments. Insomnia connected with underlying medical illnesses must be treated using a truly holistic strategy that treats multiple issues simultaneously.

Mental Health Problems

Insomnia can increase or trigger mental health issues, as well as contribute to them. It may indicate a mental health issue for which you want assistance if you lie awake at night thinking about your worries to the extent that your daytime functioning and mood are affected. It may seem impossible to escape the self-perpetuating spiral that might result from having both a mental disease and a sleep condition. Keep in mind that your doctor or therapist is available at all times to offer you support, counsel, and treatments for mental health problems.

Accidents

Accidents occur when we are exhausted because it impairs our focus, awareness, response times, and judgment. It is believed that driving when fatigued contributes to up to 30% of traffic accidents. We must know when we are too exhausted to work, drive, handle machinery, or take care of our families. It is indeed essential to comprehend that fatigue plays a significant role in the frequency of incidents while driving, at work, and one's home.

Decreasing Life Expectancy

Our ability to keep our circadian rhythm in harmony is crucial to our health and may even affect how long we live. The average lifespan is shorter for people who regularly alternate between daytime and night shifts and is greater for those who solely work day shifts. Regardless of what other factors are taken into consideration, insomnia still seems to have an independent impact on our lifespan and our accident risk, as well as our emotional and physical well-being.

Is There a Way for the Elderly to Avoid Insomnia?

Home Treatment and Remedies

It's risk-free to test out simple sleep hygiene techniques at home. Several home treatments exist, many of which integrate conventional medication with good sleep habits. Included in the list of natural sleep aids are:

Warm baths. One could find it easier to fall asleep after taking a warm, soothing bath. It might also be beneficial to use scented products or bubble baths with calming and sleep-promoting ingredients.

Aromatherapy. There seem to be numerous aromatherapy solutions that can be utilized at home, such as fragrant pillow sprays, lavender-filled pillows for your bed, and beverages with lavender, chamomile, grains, and other sleep aids.

Caffeine-free drinks, Oats, Bananas, and Milk products. Certain meals have a favourable relationship with sleep, such as oats, which include the chemical tryptophan, which is necessary for sleep. Also, a strong historical correlation exists between malted milk products and those without caffeine, which can improve sleep. Finding the appropriate balance is important because there isn't much research to support the use of particular meals as sleep aids and some people have a restful sleep after eating late at night.

Exercise. Acquiring enough activity throughout the day helps enhance sleep quality, and relaxing activities like yoga and mild stretches can be beneficial at night.

Other Sleep Disorder Therapies

Depending on the underlying cause of the sleep disorder, a mix of behavioural strategies and pharmaceuticals may be used. An increase in sleep hygiene can be advantageous for almost everyone. Those with sleep difficulties should collaborate with their physicians to identify the issue and address any potential underlying diseases.

4 Available Therapies

  • Relaxation Therapy. Before going to bed, try to unwind your mind to aid in falling asleep. Learning the methods and relaxing effectively requires a lot of practice.

  • Stimulus Control Therapy. Never read, watch TV, or have a snack in bed; just go to bed when you're tired. Regardless of how little sleep you've gotten, set a regular wake-up time and avoid taking naps during the day. The goal of this strategy is to rewire your brain such that sleep is the only thing you identify with going to bed and being in bed.

  • Sleep Restriction Therapy. Most individuals with insomnia spend an excessive amount of time in bed attempting in vain to fall asleep. If this applies to you, try going to bed later or limiting the amount of time you spend in bed to the projected amount of time you spend sleeping on average each night, which is at least five hours. Moreover, maintain a consistent wake-up time and bedtime for one week, then move them 15 minutes earlier each week until you obtain a satisfying, restful quantity of sleep.

  • Cognitive Therapy. Stop overanalyzing the necessity of being able to sleep and learn to eliminate negative thoughts about it. Swap out negative thoughts with positive ones to invite a restful night's sleep.

8 Good Sleep Hygiene Tips

If you're not tired, don't go to bed. Consider doing something else if you are not tired when it is time for bed. Read a book, take in some soothing music, or peruse a magazine. Find something soothing yet unstimulating to distract yourself from concerns about not getting enough sleep. Also, your body will unwind and your thoughts will be diverted by this.

Simply sleep in your bed. Following 15 to 20 minutes, leave your bed if you still aren't sleeping. Search for another activity that can relax you and try this in a different room if you can. Avoid watching TV because the full spectrum light it emits has an exciting impact and read quietly in low light instead.

Avoid afternoon naps. Try to avoid taking naps during certain times of the day. Nonetheless, limit your afternoon snooze to 15 to 20 minutes.

Test out sleep routines before bedtime. Choose a consistent time for going to bed and develop a calming nighttime ritual, such as soaking in a soothing bath or listening to peaceful music. Where possible, wind down at the end of the day by scheduling tough or stressful work first and less demanding things afterwards.

Wake up on the same schedule each day. Generally, you may train your body to accomplish this by controlling your wake-up time in the morning. Also, keep up this routine including on holidays and weekends.

Eat right and adopt healthy routines. Don't go to bed without dinner, but also avoid eating a heavy meal right before bed. Avoid caffeine as well, especially after midday, and alcohol after dinner; despite what many people believe, alcohol hurts

the quality of your sleep. Before going to bed, avoid smoking or consuming anything else that contains nicotine. More essential, make sure to exercise frequently in the morning.

Proper sleeping environment. Also, you should have good ventilation and maintain a pleasant temperature in your bedroom. If your sleeping atmosphere has any problems, try utilizing an eye mask or earplugs.

Don't stress, just sleep. Most importantly, it's useless to constantly check the time. Do not record how long it takes you to fall asleep unless you are maintaining a sleep diary. Alternatively, take a calm, peaceful slumber.

Medication

Sleeping pills should only be taken for brief durations, no longer than two weeks, such as when you are too upset to fall asleep at all. If you have been taking sleeping pills for a while, it is preferable to gradually reduce the dosage after consulting your doctor. Antidepressant pills might be useful in some circumstances.

Making modest changes to the root cause of your sleeplessness may be sufficient if you can pinpoint it. Sometimes, we may not be able to alter our work schedules or ensure a peaceful, pleasant environment for sleeping, therefore we must look for practical answers to our insomnia if the cause cannot be quickly eliminated.

It is also necessary to get assistance if insomnia is negatively impacting your senior folks' lifestyle and you are unable to handle it on your own. One of the most frequent reasons people visit their doctor is for a sleep disorder; if you require support during a period of insomnia, admit them to an senior care centre in Singapore or dementia care Singapore, and remember you most definitely are not the only one in this struggle.

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