Insomnia In Elderly

 ... insomnia in elderly

Insomnia or Sleeplessness

Author: sulamita berrezi

If you are interested in the topic of insomnia due to your own illness, or you are doing research and feel that you cannot find useful material, or you don't have enough experience to write a paper, ask for help with the words write my nursing paper for me to the teachers or read more material, it may inspire you.

Insomnia or sleeplessness has assumed alarming proportions in present times, especially

among the upper classes in urban areas. This is evident from the wide range of medication for

this condition prescribed by physicians and sold by chemists. Instances of persons taking an

overdose of sleeping pills with fatal results are quite frequent. Insomnia deprives a person of

mental rest and thereby interferes with his activities in the daytime. It constitutes a severe health

hazard when it becomes a habit.

Sleep is a periodic state of rest for the body which is absolutely essential for its efficient

functioning. Sleep gives relief from tension, rests the brain and body and a person wakes up in

the morning fresh and relaxed after sleep. The amount of sleep, however, varies within very

wide limits from individual to individual. Normally, seven to eight hours of sleep every night is

adequate for most people. Some, however, do well with four to five hours because their sleep is

deeper and more refreshing.

Insomnia is common among the elderly for a variety of reasons. The sleep of the elderly is often

punctuated by brief periods of wakefulness during the night. IN such cases it is the quality rather

than the quantity which is most affected. With age, there is gradual reduction of periods of deep

sleep. The older person, therefore, gets roused easier. Sleep requirements also diminish with

ageing. From nine hours of sleep per night at the age of 12 the average sleep needs decrease to

eight hours at the age of 20 , seven hours at 40 , six and half hours at 60 and six hours at 80.


The signs of pathological insomnia are dramatic changes in the duration and quality of sleep,

persistent changes in sleep patterns, lapses of memory and lack of concentration during the day.

Other symptoms are emotional instability, loss of coordination, confusion and a lingering feeling

of indifference.


The most common cause of sleeplessness is mental tension brought about by anxiety, worries,

overwork and overexcitement. Suppressed feelings of resentment, anger and bitterness may

also cause insominia. Constipation, dyspepsia, over-eating at night, excessive intake of tea or

coffee and going to bed hungry are among the other causes. Smoking is another unsuspected

cause of insomnia as it irritates the nervous system, especially the nerves of the digestive

system. Often, worrying about falling asleep is enough to keep one awake.

The Cure

Sleeping pills are no remedy for sleeplessness. They are habit forming and become less

effective when taken continuously. They lower the I.Q., dull the brain and can prove fatal if taken

in excess or before or after alcohol. The side-effects of sleeping pills include indigestion, skin

rashes, lowered resistance to infection, circulatory and respiratory problems, poor appetite, high

blood pressure, kidney and liver problems and mental confusion.

To overcome the problem, one should adhere to a regular sleeping schedule, going to bed at a

fixed time each night and getting up at a fixed time each morning. Early to bed and early to rise

is a good rule. Two hours of sleep before midnight are more beneficial than four after. It is sheer

folly for students, at examination times, to keep awake till long after midnight, drinking one cup of

tea after another, as that is only apt to cause blackness and inability to concentrate in the

examination hall.

Research has shown that people with chronic insomnia almost invariably marked deficiencies of

such key nutrients as B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C and D as also calcium,magnesium,

manganese, potassium and zinc. The sleep mechanism is unable to function efficiently unless

each of these nutrients is present in adequate amounts in the diet.

A balanced diet with simple modifications in the eating pattern will go a long way in the treatment

and cure of insominia. Such a diet should exclude white flour products, sugar and its products,

tea ,coffee, chocolate, cola drinks, alcohol, fatty foods, fried foods, foods containing additives,

that is chemicals for preserving, colouring and flavouring, excessive use of salt and strong


In the modified eating pattern, breakfast should consist of fresh and dried fruits, whole cereals,

seeds and yogurt. Of the two main meals, one should consist of a large mixed salad and the

other should be protein-based. A cup of milk sweetened with honey at bedtime is helpful as the

amino-acid tryptophan contained in milk induces sleep.

Sleep is often elusive. Any attempt to force it only drives it further away. It is better to divert the

mind with soft music or light reading. While going to bed, visualise a blank black wall occupying

the entire field of vision. Turn your thoughts to light and cheerful matters. Use light bed clothes

and relax. Do not lie on your back, put on your side with one or both knees brought well up and

the head and shoulders slightly forward. During the night, the position of the arms and legs

should be changed frequently and a healthy sleeper usually shifts from one side to the other

several times in the course of the night.

Controlled breathing is also a great help in inducing sleep. The method is to lie on your side in

bed, and then take three deep breaths expanding the abdomen completely. Then hold your

brath as long as you can. Next, take three more breaths and repeat the breath-holding. While

you hold your breath, carbon dioxide accumulates in the body and induces natural sleep.

Regular, active exercising during the day and mild exercise at bedtime enhances the quantity

and the quality of sleep. Exercise stimulates the elimination of lactic acid from the body which

correlates with stress and muscular tension. Regular exercise also produces hormonal changes

which are beneficial to the body and to the sleep pattern. Walking, jogging, skipping, swimming

are all ideal exercises. Vigorous exercise should, however, be avoided at night as this can be



Yoga helps a majority of cases of insomnia in two ways. Firstly, yoga treatment helps tone up

the glandular, respiratory and nervous system. Secondly, yoga also gives physical and mental

relaxation as a safety value for one's disturbing problems. The traditional yogasanas which are

effective for insomnia patients are shirsana, sarvangasana, paschimottanasana,

uttanasan,viparitakarni and shavasana.

Hydrotherapy is also effective in treatment of insomnia. Application of hot packs to the spine

before retiring, hot fomentation to the spine , hot foot bath or an alternate hot and cold foot bath

at bedtime are all time-tested methods. The cold hip bath with the feet in hot water and the

prolonged neutral immersion bath (92 o to 96 o F) at bed time, when one's nerves are usually

irritable, are also effective measures.

Along with the various measures for the treatment of insomnia, all efforts should be made to

eliminate as many stress factors as possible. The steps in this direction should include regular

practice of any relaxation method or meditation technique, cultivating the art of doing things

slowly (particularly activities like eating, walking and talking) limiting the working day to nine to

ten hours and five and a half days weekly, cultivating a creative hobby and spending some time

daily on this, avoiding working against unrealistic targets and completing one task before starting


Article Source:

About the Author

Sulamita work on le canzoni del festival di sanremo negli anni 80, and canzoni sanremo anni 80and festival canzone italiana anni 80

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10 Responses to Insomnia In Elderly

  1. SpousesHusbandDrivenNutsByHisMom says:

    What to do with elderly mom who isn’t sick but won’t do anything by herself?
    I am the spouse-in-law observing my husband & my sis-in-law (his sis) going crazy (and to a degree also everyone else in our households: sis-in-law’s husband and his dad and me) because their mom is difficult.

    I’m getting tired these last THREE AND A HALF YEARS of my husband venting to me about his mother and her unwillingness to try to feel better, to communicate in a sane way, etc…it also does affect our family….

    I don’t know what else to tell him…

    FACT: Her children WILL NOT send her to a seniors home EVER (believe me I’ve tried to talk my stone-faced husband into that…didn’t work)

    She’s been widowed for over 20 years. Lived alone for 8 years (all her kids grown up and left house) but provided daycare for her daughter for the last 4 of those years.

    After no one no longer needed her for babysitting, she lived alone in her house for a year and developed insomnia.

    Except for last year, spent 2 years on various dosages and types of anti-depressants and sleeping pills, saw a health care team led by a doctor, to figure out what was wrong with her.

    She now sleeps okay..but is off the anti-depressants because she said they never helped her and always made her feel weird, heavy in the head (she is 2nd language english), and dizzy.

    Paid for a psychologist a few times…all my mom-in-law could do was talk in circles about why is she sick…she never answers questions from anyone directly…often times completely ignores the question and answer it with something unrelated like, “you don’t understand, why do I feel this way, I am not young anymore, I am old, and I am sick you know?”

    She is also the most persistently repetitive person I have ever observed…no one has ever won a conversation over her…she’ll repeat whatever it is she believes until you give up…ie..weeks of the same thing…

    She lives mostly at my sis-in-law’s 75% of the time…25% at our longer at her own house.

    Status Quo Today:
    So you could say, “you need to go out for a walk at least 1-2 times a week and get some fresh air” or”you should keep yourself busy and go out with friends” or “you’ve done it before, you know which buttons to push on a microwave”….basically ask any question and she will respond with the above “I’m sick you know” in some form or variation of that.

    She is in her early/mid 70s. She walks fine, talks fine, doctor’s have found nothing physically wrong with her…she’s passed all their tests that determine if she has something mentally wrong with her or dementia…she doesn’t …

    She won’t go outside, but will if her own personal children or spouses of her children take her.

    She says she is afraid of falling that is why she says she needs someone to take her places…they said they’d get her a walker, she instantly scoffed and said she doesn’t need one, she just needs someone to be with her.

    There have been weddings, birthdays, events throughout the last few years…she has slowly withdrawn from 95% of them…stays home …while we all go….unless it is one of our birthdays and the dinner will be at our homes and not out.

    If there are things in her state of affairs (paperwork) that needs done…she knows sharply what needs to be done but refuses to do it herself but badgers her children (ie. income tax, house insurance, pension stuff) to phone appropriate persons…and she gives her children EXACT detailed instructions on what to tell the people (this is proof that she has her wits about her and is capable)…even when her children have said she can call a person who speaks her language…and she can tell that person herself.

    Example scenario of her difficultness:
    Her house insurance came up, she mentioned to her children literally about 20 times to not forgot, and so my husband refused to pay it and said she could do it herself because she was on him too many times.

    For the next week couldn’t sleep and was excessively worried about it..but though she had the phone # to call and pay her house insurance and talk to the people in her language…she let it slide and told all of us she couldn’t do it…and she didn’t …

    Her Nature:
    She has been found to say, she is worried (more anxious than the usual person, very extreme I’d say) of making a mistake and doing things wrong…so she’d rather not do it all all and risk no one doing it for her..but then spend several weeks losing sleep and being anxious about it.

    She is always anxious about something…could be “who is going to take me to do flu shots?” “my tooth is sore, who will take me to the dentist”

    Whatever she is anxious about, which always is at least 1 thing…she loses sleep often…which is why she does sleep better than when she had insomnia but she just sleeps ok…

    Her children feel she manipulates

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    • Wishes are Fishes says:

      1. Accept her for who she is and don’t try to argue. She’s seen professionals and they haven’t been able to help her. She’s not going to change. Just relax and go along with it happily, and everyone will be spared a lot of pain.

      2. See about getting her some anti-anxiety medication. Make her understand that anti-anxiety pills are different from antidepressants and shouldn’t make her heavy in the head. If she’s so convinced she’s “sick,” you should be able to talk her into the necessity of medicine.

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  2. will pray 4 you disleic 15 wpmin says:

    does this email seem to harsh?
    Long story short I have a sleeping disorder caused by noises that would not bother the average person this is not hate mail but am very angry with —–(phone solicitations)I have successfully discouraged 3 families from setting up —— service some even came to —– with me. (Not to be rude) but some of your sales practices are in my opinion irresponsible and tacky. I liken you to an ambulance chasing lawyer when you use the phone to communicate with potential customers you have invited yourself into their home and that’s ok if it is done in good taste. It’s a free county ok. The calls I have gotten from ——- were for lack of a better phrase down right ghetto. I got calls at 10;00 pm some times 6 or 7 times a day and god forbid I make a mistake and answer on accident I would get another prerecorded message within ten minutes of hanging up some times 3 or 4 after the first or off and on for a couple of hours after. The pre recorded message sounded like a excon that just got a job in sales through the local jail rehabilitation program or some one who was being trained to sell fire insurance to Eskimos (we have a fresh out of jail mission type program in our church basement ok In back ok not racist) One of your operator explained to me that it may be a local company that resale’s———-. My point is they are using your name and they indirectly represented you. You need to check into this I’m in ————.
    These are some of the symptoms ive had to live with for the past 3 ½ years (in only 34)
    2-3 hours of sleep a night for up to 3 weeks at a time
    Not being able to sleep for 48-72 hours (without feeling sleepy)
    Awakening by simple noises for the rest of the night
    *****feeling like its 4am every day when I wake up because I’m not able to go into a deep sleep until right before I wake up*****
    *****************not feeling tired physically until I get out of bed*****************
    This may sound hard to believe but I’ve walked 3 miles, done heavy yard work, exercised, ECT. So I can fall out that usually doesn’t work very well (except for my feet)
    The only activity that can help me fall out is a couple of hours of swimming
    Oh and by the way frustration about not sleeping causes insomnia I have to cover my clock at night
    It wouldn’t be so bad if I were able to predict when it will hit me like a tone of bricks it’s usually at an incontinent time
    I’m not a drug addict I don’t even smoke or drink im not under a lot of stress or having possible side effects from other meds Ive switched Drs several times and now I finally have a dr that was able to prescribe something that works. The reason that I’m telling you all this is my insomnia has caused me to have sympathy for the elderly who may not know about the national do not call registry, or a sick who person lives in a home where no one monitors their phone or a institutionalized patient whose family doesn’t care about their mental health. (Not to be rude but) I plan on reporting you to the better business beauro or where ever I can file a complaint. Yes im on the do not call registry courtesy of——- my point is this it doesn’t matter if someone drops a bowling ball on you foot on purpose or by accident the results are still the same. The mature response is to take responsibility for you actions. Oh sending an apology is in order as well. I hope that my e mail will motivate you to be more ethical in you business practices .In my frustration ive learned how to maintain positive disposition in a no win situation (not snapping on people for assuming im a rude black women with an attitude problem)- If you are already trying to correct this situation or others like this then please receive this email as a simple disagreement among friends. fell free to send me a questionnaire or email me for further correspondence (in regard to this email only)———–
    The next time you have to function with little or no sleep don’t complain I hope you will remember this email and not be a crabby tight wad that has a tendency to make people upset cause you really don’t know what self restraint and prayer is all about until you’ve gone for three years straight with chronic insomnia come on you wouldn’t want someone to read a little more about your character than well let’s just say what can be expressed in one brief encounter.
    And besides its all about the way you talk to people and your ability to keep your personal opinions to yourself until you have an appropriate forum to air your concerns”???? I mean that’s the professional thing to do any way isn’t it???
    Walking an email mile
    im on the do not call list now thanks to this email recipeient

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  3. Linda J says:

    In Feb 07, fell asleep for seconds at wheel, involved in car accident where other person had minor injuries?
    I had taken a sleep aid right before leaving friend’s home & involved in accident within hour nodding off. Sleeping aid always took 3-6 hrs 2 take affect & I was under strict doctor’s care for my insomnia. Because they always took so long to take effect, was advised 2 take them 3 hours prior to sleep. Took them 2x per week & never had problem falling asleep driving before. Had trauma happen night before–don’t know if stress caused me 2 have accident. DA had case from April 2 end of June. My doctor wrote excellent letter explaining my problems wth drugs working; my high metabolism & this drug always taking 3/more hrs 2 take effect. She also explained she totally believed it was the trauma that caused my impairment, not the drug. The DA chose not 2 charge me criminally, but pushed to civil court. City atty. will decide 2 chg me wth DUI or reckless driving wth NO driving priv. for 1 year. Extreme 4 1st offense? Elderly mom&husband wth poss cancer that depend on me to drive

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  4. daddys gurl says:

    Need help finding a news article?
    I need help finding a news article from a few years ago. Please if you find it respond. And no bad posts please if your going to be mean then dont bother responding!

    A few years ago a man from jackson, mi was kidnapped/carjacked from a meijers. I remember the story said he was an elderly man who suffered from insomnia and he passed the time away sometimes by browsing through the meijers. Some teens had kidnapped/carjacked him and murdered him and had dismembered him somewhere in detroit.

    This has been on my mind since watching my local news for the past few days and I want to find the article. Ty and hopefully you’ll find something, I have had no luck.
    I do believe it was a story on channel 9 & 10 news in michigan

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    • LiS says:

      I think the best place to go would be your local library. I don’t think may people keep their newspapers longer than a week or so.

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  5. THE FAMOUS ME says:

    HELP need help in medical!!! please please please help?
    Please help!!! medical question!!!I dont understand these question?
    Acetaminophen has advantages over aspirin. These do NOT include which of the following?
    a. It may be used for people who are allergic to aspirin or aspirin-like compounds.
    b. It does not cause liver damage.
    c. It rarely causes gastrointestinal upset or bleeding.
    d. It may be taken with anticoagulant therapy.
    e. It is associated with Reye’s syndrome.

    NSAIDs are used for
    a. arthritis
    b. dental pain
    c. dysmenorrhea
    d. anti-inflammatory conditions
    e. all of the above

    The side effects of NSAIDs include
    a. GI distress
    b. headache
    c. bleeding disorders
    d. soreness of the mouth

    Analgesics that contain the word compound or “dan” have what as an ingredient?
    a. acetaminophen
    b. aspirin
    c. Phenergan
    d. antacids

    Analgesics that contain the word “cet” have what as an ingredient?
    a. acetaminophen
    b. aspirin
    c. antacids
    d. caffeine

    The side effects of opioid medications in the elderly include all the following EXCEPT
    a. confusion
    b. ototoxicity and tinnitus
    c. urinary retention
    d. hyperexcitability
    e. respiratory depression

    Which of the following is NOT a sign or symptom of drug abuse and misuse?
    a. changes in weight and sleep habits
    b. impaired memory or illogical thinking
    c. defensiveness, anxiety, changes in friends and appearance
    d. taking prescribed medications for known illnesses on a regular basis
    e. mood swings, irritability, depression and anger

    Which of the following are the most frequently abused substances?
    a. xanthines
    b. caffeine
    c. nicotine
    d. all of the above
    e. none of the above

    The side effects of smoking cessation include all of the following EXCEPT
    a. belching, hiccups, and indigestion
    b. hoarseness, soreness of the mouth and throat, and watering of the mouth
    c. tachycardia and insomnia
    d. decreased appetite, nausea, and diarrhea
    e. skin eruptions

    Which of the following is NOT true of central nervous system depressants?
    a. Barbiturates are used as downers for persons using central nervous system stimulants.
    b. Tolerance is a common effect of barbiturate and benzodiazepine usage, leading to physical dependence.
    c. Therapeutic use of benzodiazepines and barbiturates should be short-term.
    d. Withdrawal from barbiturates and benzodiazepines should be done rapidly to prevent long-term withdrawal signs and symptoms.
    e. Central nervous system depressants are safe for use by the elderly.

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