Insomnia: What Causes It and What to Do to Stop It


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Insomnia: What Causes It and What to Do to Stop It

Whether your parents are battling insomnia or you're dealing with it, it's not easy to function when you're exhausted. Being a family caregiver is hard, but it's harder if you have no energy or have parents who are cranky because they're just not getting enough sleep.

What Is Insomnia?

It's defined as difficultly falling or staying asleep. It is a common problem with older adults. You may have experienced it, too. You fell asleep fine, but you woke up at 2 a.m. for the third night in a row and cannot quiet your mind enough to get back to sleep so you give up.

What Causes It?

Several factors can be to blame. Insomnia can be a sign of certain health conditions or mental health issues like dementia, anxiety disorder, or depression. It can be a side effect of the medications you take. Joint pain may wake you up and be hard to ignore as you try to get back to sleep. It may be hard to pinpoint an exact cause.

To overcome insomnia, it's important to make a few lifestyle changes. Try these tips to get yourself and/or your parents sleeping through the night.

Talk to a Doctor About Medication Side Effects

If your parents are having a hard time staying asleep or falling asleep and it's a common side effect of a medication they take, talk to their doctor. There may be an alternative medication. Changing the time of day the medication is taken may also be helpful. Senior care providers can ensure that your parent takes their medications at the correct time each day.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Focus the diet on whole grains, lean proteins, and lots of vegetables. If your parents are filling up on fatty foods, heartburn or acid reflux may be making it hard for them to fall asleep. Sugary foods may be boosting their energy levels too much to be tired.

If they enjoy coffee or tea, the caffeine could be to blame. Switch to decaf or restrict caffeinated beverages to the morning and early afternoon so that the caffeine has left their systems by bedtime.

Stop Drinking Too Much Before Bed

If your parents fill up on water before bed, they're going to wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the bathroom. They may turn on lights to keep from tripping and have to walk up and down the stairs to reach a bathroom. If that's the case, the body will be awake and not ready to go back to sleep.

Limiting water intake to sips rather than full glasses after dinner will help. If they're thirsty, they need to stay to sips of water as early in the evening as they can.

If you're battling insomnia, it's time to take a break and focus on having a few days off to rest. Ask a home care agency about respite care services from professional caregivers. Caregivers help you out by making sure your parents have the help they need when you're taking some time off to focus on self-care.

If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Billings, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.​​​

Shanna Tourtlotte

Shanna Tourtlotte has been the owner of SYNERGY HomeCare Billings since 2011.

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