Did you know that during sleep our brains consolidate and store our memory and learning? Sleep also helps us function more efficiently and effectively. Sleep helps us stay healthy and prevent additional health problems.
An adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. How often do you meet that?
Sometimes we deprive ourselves of sleep by the lifestyle we have (or choose to have). Work, poor sleep habits, and other factors contribute to volitional sleep deprivation. This shows that many of us don’t take sleep as seriously as we should. But other things beyond your control also affect how we sleep: environmental disruptions and untreated sleep disorders fall into this category.
Being tired can interfere with your daily activities, such as being sleepy at work- which can causes errors or injuries. It also affects your driving. We may not like to admit it, but how many people have felt drowsy while driving? Or even more dangerous, dozed off while at the wheel? It’s more common than you may think.
Sleep Apnea is one serious sleep disorder, and it is when airflow stops during sleep. This causes frequent awakenings so the person can adjust and open their airway. In severe Apnea, some people stop breathing over 30 times each hour during their sleep. That does not sound very restful! If you think you might have an issue similar to this, you should contact your doctor, or look up the Central Texas Neurology Consultants of St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, who provided this information.
Those with Alzheimer’s disease (or those who care for them) know that as the disease progresses, sleep patterns often change. They might experience confusion between night and day, causing them to sleep long periods at off hours. Often, it can causes restlessness or sleeplessness, which can lead to wandering. And, of course, for caregivers all of this can prevent or interfere from being able to get any real rest of their own.
There are a couple of things that caregivers can do to alleviate sleep issues:
- Check with your physician about medications that might be causing sleeplessness.
- Avoid caffeine or stimulants.
- Encourage your loved one to be active during the day, even exercise, but be wary of too much activity close to bed time.
- If they struggle sleeping at night, minimize daytime naps especially later in the day.
- And try exposing them to sunlight in the morning and earlier in the day.
- And of course, maintain consistency when possible in rising for the day and going to bed at night.
Moral of the story: take care of yourself, get enough sleep. The consequences can echo through every aspect of your life. And if you think you or your loved one need medical help with getting real, restful sleep, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. And if there are other things in your life (such as issues with aging or getting older, or caregiver challenges) that are interfering with your ability to rest and take care of yourself, please contact AGE of Central Texas and let us figure out how to help you find what you need.