Sleep disorders can affect anyone, regardless of the age. But it is found that more cases of sleep disorders are increasingly affected on elderly people. This is because of fact that aging gradually changes the normal physiological functioning of body along with decline of human growth hormones and metabolism. These changes altogether alters the cellular activity of people, leading to lack of sleep or various types of sleep disorders. These sleep disorders can also occur as a result of disease, lifestyle or even environment. Most people believe sleep disturbances as a result of the ageing process. These sleep difficulties can lead to a number of changes in the physiological systems - such as a decrease in the production of suitable hormones like the growth hormones, and also a decline in the functioning of metabolic system.
There are different types of sleep disorder that varies according to the physical and mental stature of a person. Some people complaint inadequate sleep while others feel sleepy all the day. Some wake up in the middle of night and then have difficulty to sleep again; while some others go for long sleep, talk in sleep, grind their teeth in sleep, walk in sleep and even experience sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea (breathing difficulty) etc. Medical conditions such as renal failure, diabetes mellitus; respiratory diseases like asthma; and immune disorders are all linked with sleep problems and disorders. Diseases such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis also usually reason sleeping difficulties.
There are numerous factors that contribute sleep problems. Practicing irregular sleeping patterns and lack of proper nutrition & exercise give rise to inability to sleep during old age. Maintaining a regular sleep & wake-up schedule, physically active lifestyle with proper diet, and quitting of smoking and alcohol consumption provides healthy sleeping patterns even as we get old. Elderly people go through lots of negative life events such as demise of loved ones and psychological distresses that lead to sleeplessness and sleep dreams. It is also found that chronic sleeping disorders arise in people after retirement due to inactive physical activity and excess day time sleep.
Aging also bring alone various diseases including heart disorders, hypertension, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, breathing problems etc. These conditions make it hard for older people to have a sound sleep. Moreover, the prolonged use of medications such as antibiotics, tranquilizers, sedatives etc impairs healthy sleep. Factors such as overweight and family history of sleep disorders are also one of the risk factors associated with sleep disorder. Noise and light pollutions and extreme temperatures are also controlling factors of sleep.
In order to provide sound sleep and prevent sleep disorder at old age, there are sleep support supplements enriched with herbs such as chamomile, hops, valerian, etc that have sedative properties that aid in peaceful sleep. Other natural ways of treating sleep disorders include herbal baths, herbal infusion, herbal teas, massaging, etc. Behavioral therapies and prescription medications - separately or in combination - are also considered effective for the treatment of sleep disorders. Consult a physician before choosing any type of treatment options.