We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our overall health and well-being. Just look at a cranky toddler who needs a nap.
What about adults?
If you are having trouble falling asleep and waking up often half way through the night and are unable to sleep again or waking up too early in the morning and even just waking tired and listless, you may have insomnia.
It’s not uncommon for adults to experience poor sleep or suffer from mild to extreme insomnia. Your poor night’s sleep may not always be insomnia, as insomnia is defined as constant or habitual. A few night’s worth of bad sleeping patterns may not always be classified as insomnia.
What causes insomnia in older adults can vary.
The main reason tends to be stresses in our lives.
Money worries, the loss or decrease of employment, unexpected emergencies or other unavoidable disasters that cause a strain on the finances or potential income can be devastating. This can also include house or other living expenses needing unexpected attention are deeply concerning and add to constant worry.
Declining health, an illness, whether mild, severe or terminal can cause all kinds of stresses and affect sleeping habits. An ongoing or increasing poor health can also add pressure to the financial side of the worries. Chronic illness, your own or a loved one, takes a toll on us, mentally and physically and can rob you of well needed sleep.
Here we can include certain medications, as well. Many of them may disrupt our regular sleep, cause discomfort or a change in behavior. If a new medication is introduced and works against some already being taken, it may take a long time before the regular sleep pattern can be found again.
Adding to health issues is the death of a loved one, family member or close friend. Included here should also be the loss of a pet, as they are often very close and in some cases, the only companion an older person has. That lose can cause such a heavy loss and emptiness it seems impossible to fill it up again.
This can include moving house, or selling off a house and having to downsize or relocate. Also may mean a divorce or separation from a spouse or someone who has been a constant part of your life for many years. If both of these have happened at once, it can be overwhelming.
Anything like noises, especially new ones like construction or new neighbors or children, parties, bright lights, the temperature changing, too hot or too cold, all of these can factor in and cause us to lose sleep.
There are many things that affect our sleep, some we may not even be aware of. Maybe as we age we just need less sleep, but if it’s a concern to you, it’s important to contact your family doctor.
Losing sleep can cause all kinds of mental and physical changes and problems in our lives. It is important to find out the causes of insomnia so that they can be mitigated.