Sleep Issues that Are Common Among Seniors

By 9  am on

One of the most common complaints among seniors is issues with sleep. Not getting enough sleep affects mental, emotional, and physical health. Help your senior loved one get more sleep at night by addressing these common concerns.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the throat relax during sleep, blocking the airway and causing those affected to stop breathing and wake up. Seniors with the condition may stop breathing hundreds of times each night, leaving them tired when they wake up. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include daytime tiredness, loud snoring, and episodes of not breathing while asleep. Aside from causing tiredness, obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Sleep apnea is usually diagnosed after a sleep study is performed. If your loved one does have sleep apnea, using a CPAP machine at night can keep his or her airways open and help him or her get to sleep at night.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted elderly home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.

Restless Legs Syndrome

If your loved one has restless legs syndrome, it may be difficult for him or her to fall asleep at night. The condition causes an uncontrollable urge to move the legs and typically occurs during the evening or at night. Though moving temporarily stops the urge, it usually quickly returns. If your loved one experiences the condition, taking a warm bath before bed, avoiding caffeine, getting leg massages, or doing leg exercises before bed can stop the urge to move before sleep.

When you understand the causes of your loved one’s sleep issues, you can be better equipped to help him or her sleep better and enhance his or her overall wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care service. Vancouver, BC, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder

An estimated 20 to 25 percent of each night’s sleep is spent in a part of the sleep cycle known as rapid eye movement (REM). During this stage, blood pressure increases, muscles experience a form of paralysis, breathing is erratic, the eyes move rapidly, and the brain is highly active. This stage of sleep is typically when people dream.

Seniors with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD) don’t experience muscle paralysis during this sleep stage, which causes them to physically act out their dreams.
For those with RBD, dreams are often violent and intense and may cause them to kick, yell, jump, or flail their arms. The condition may result in your loved one injuring him or herself or others and may make him or her afraid to sleep. Medications (such as clonazepam or some antidepressants) or a melatonin supplement may stop the condition from occurring.


Decreased melatonin production, health conditions, and medications often cause insomnia in the elderly. Insomnia occurs when your loved one has a difficult time falling or staying asleep. Developing and sticking to a regular bedtime and sleep routine may help. Talk with your loved one and develop a routine for going to bed each night, which may include shutting off electronics several hours before bedtime, taking a warm bath, listening to quiet music, drinking warm tea, or reading a book. Repeating the routine and trying to go to bed at roughly the same time each evening can help your loved one’s body develop better sleep habits, which may prevent insomnia from occurring. 

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Vancouver, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (778) 279-3634.


    Request Free Information or
    Schedule a Free in-Home Consultation