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Helping an Elderly Loved One Overcome Insomnia

Family Caregivers in Newton MA

Elderly woman sleepingWhen we are unable to sleep, our mental and physical states are affected. It becomes increasingly difficult to concentrate, we may become overly emotional or easily irritated, or will become less productive throughout the day. If your aging loved one has a hard time falling asleep at night, they could be suffering from insomnia. Unfortunately, with age comes a change in our sleep patterns, which means many are impacted by insomnia.

Since memory loss is common among older adults, getting plenty of nighttime rest could prevent them from becoming forgetful. By not getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, your loved one is at risk for a number of chronic health problems, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and weight issues. Although insomnia is a growing problem among seniors, it does not have to be. With the help of a family caregiver or non-medical caregiver, your elderly loved one can fight the insomnia that has taken over their ability to rest soundly at night.

How to Overcome Insomnia

  • Set the mood. In order to help your loved one sleep better at night, their bedroom has to have the perfect relaxing environment. This means keeping the lights dim at bedtime, the temperature cool, free from all noises, and no backlit lights from clocks or devices should be in their room. The bedroom should also only be used for sleep in order to train the brain to associate it with this activity.
  • Create a schedule and stick to it. By having a consistent bedtime and wakeup time, the elder’s body will begin to become tired and alert at the appropriate times. One way to help the senior’s body prepare for rest is to have a relaxing sleep ritual before getting into bed. This ritual may include soothing music, taking a bath, or meditation.
  • Avoid long naps. Short naps between 15 and 45 minutes can actually help the senior become more alert, boost their memory, and increase their concentration. However, napping for any longer could take a toll on the sleep they get at night. Try to limit the amount of time each nap is in order to help them sleep better. Also, make sure to have the elder take their nap in the morning in order to prevent sleep problems in the evening.
  • Get moving. Exercising at least four hours prior to going to bed will actually help the body sleep at night. Do not exercise any closer to bedtime as this could actually give them energy and make the ability to sleep much more difficult.

If your elderly loved one has tried these tips and still suffers from insomnia, have them talk to their doctor about other forms of treatment that may help.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073