Insomnia in Elderly: Things You Should Know
Work Wellness

Insomnia in Elderly: Things You Should Know

|Jul 11, 2022

There are as many reasons for insomnia as there are symptomatic manifestations. There is a high prevalence of insomnia in all ages and populations of elderly individuals in all countries. In fact, insomnia in the elderly has become an epidemic by itself, as we can see by the number of sleep aids available over the counter (OTC) without a prescription.

There are several causes of insomnia, including OTC sleep aids, other drugs, underlying medical conditions, new or existing comorbid conditions that affect different parts of the body, pain, stress, depression, dementia, and other mental health issues...

The dangers of insomnia are numerous, ranging from fatigue to lack of concentration to loss of cognitive abilities causing memory loss and mental health problems due to the consumption of sleep aids. As a result of insomnia, accidents, injuries, side effects, and fatalities can occur. It can also worsen coexisting conditions and increase insomnia elderly causes. 

Is Insomnia in Elderly Preventable?

It is just as effective as a stand-alone treatment method for older adults to use cognitive-behavioral treatment, including relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene actions/ measures, stimulus control, and sleep restriction. When examining the prevalence of insomnia and insomnia long-term effects in older adults, it is important to take into account the following factors:

Predisposing Factors

Predisposing Factors in insomnia in elderly

Additionally, older adults who smoke, drink alcohol and do not exercise often are more prone to suffer from insomnia.

Perpetuating Factors

People who are often dealing with insomnia experience behavioral or cognitive changes. Behavioral and cognitive events may trigger an acute episode of insomnia, but they do not necessarily lead to chronic insomnia. Several factors give rise to insomnia, including excessive sleep time, conditioning, and frequent naps.

Precipitating Factors

Precipitating Factors

A stressful life event or medical condition is the most common cause of sleep disruption. Grown-up adults with a physical disability, fair to deprived perceived health, and respiratory symptoms are at greater-than-before threat of insomnia. Medications including glucocorticoids, beta-blockers, decongestants, antiandrogens, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines may add to insomnia.

Insomnia in Elderly Solutions

Based on that, these are a few insomnia solutions you can start now to prevent insomnia at a later age.

Among all of them, this is the most crucial. Stay focused. Follow a regular sleeping schedule. Stay consistent with your wake-up and bedtime every day, even on weekends and holidays. Don't mix it up. Your body knows when it's time to sleep and wake up based on this signal.

Eat light before going to bed. Don't eat within an hour of going to bed. Digestion takes time for certain foods. If you eat too close to bedtime, your body will be too busy to digest, and you won't be able to relax and fall asleep.

No alcohol or caffeine before bed. These are notorious sleep disruptors. Try drinking your coffee earlier in the day, preferably in the morning.

Engage in some physical activity during the day. Try to sweat a bit as much as you can during the day on your indoor cycling bike or WalkingPad X21, and you'll see the sleep you get.

Consume foods that promote the production of melatonin and aid in sleep. Fish, cherries, almonds, green tea or chamomile tea, milk, almonds, almonds, and nuts help with sleep.

Insomnia in Elderly Solutions

Establish a sleeping routine. Limit activities that stimulate or energize you before you go to bed. These activities trigger sleep.

Reduce the temperature of your room. Sleeping in a cooler environment is beneficial.

As much as possible, keep your room quiet and dark. These two habits increase melatonin production in the body at nighttime and make you sleepy.

Screens must be turned off before bedtime. Blue light from screens is very harmful to the eyes, and the light tricks the body into thinking that it is daytime, so you have to stay awake. This means you are not tired and thus are not sleepy because the light tricks the body into thinking that it is daytime. Whenever you use a computer or phone, use a blue light filter.

Why Do Your Elderly Family Members Become Insomniacs?

Chronic medical illnesses, physiologic changes brought about by aging, and environmental conditions cause insomnia in the elderly. Some individuals that do have sleep disturbances may eventually find themselves dealing with impaired memory, concentration, and functional performance, even leading to mental block depression. Behavioral therapies delivered through the internet have also been found to be effective for older adults.

Solution for Elderly

Solution for Elderly

Many people are able to live independently in their homes with or without assistance. Families and friends can be helpful, as can caregivers, personal care assistants, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), or even nurses. There is also often home hospice care available. An individual care plan should be developed whenever care is provided beyond a family member or friend. When possible, the person should be involved in designing the plan or even applying for mental health leave from work.

Others opt for assisted living facilities. In addition to assisted living facilities, family group homes, independent senior living communities, intentional communities, and continuing care retirement communities, other types of facilities are available. Many of these facilities offer social activities and opportunities. In addition, they provide significant care and offer individual care plans.


There is a correlation between insomnia and aging. Several factors contribute to sleep problems in seniors, but a diagnosis of insomnia ought to meet definite criteria. Even with enough sleep time and a relatively comfortable sleeping area, an insomniac must exhibit no less than one of the symptoms mentioned in the following:

  • Inability to fall or stay asleep
  • Getting up earlier on a regular basis
  • Sleeping problems without assistance from a caretaker
  • The feeling of being unable to get to bed on time

Insomnia and Work Performance


Ideally, adults should sleep 7-8 hours per night. Researchers found that professionals surveyed spent an average of merely six hours 28 minutes on the job per week.

Over half of survey respondents said they struggled to stay all ears in meetings, developed performance anxiety work, took longer for completing tasks, and encountered difficulty generating new ideas when they were tired at work. Participants also reported reduced enthusiasm to learn, a diminished ability to manage challenging demands, a deficiency of focus, and diminished creative capacity.

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