Cypress HomeCare Solutions is home to the Health Futures – Taking Stock in You Radio show, powered by Money Radio 1510AM and 105.3FM. Each week, the show provides listeners with expert advice on how to live a longer, healthier, and happier life.
On Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, we had the pleasure of having Dr. Michael Breus, the Sleep Doctor, on the show.
To listen to the full hour-long episode, click here.
Ensuring that older adults receive adequate, high-quality sleep is paramount for maintaining their overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, many seniors encounter various sleep-related challenges that hinder their ability to achieve the rejuvenating rest they require. In a recent episode of the renowned radio show “Health Futures” hosted by Bob Roth, sleep expert Dr. Michael Bruce offered invaluable insights into the changes in sleep patterns as we age and how to effectively address common sleep disorders affecting seniors.
Understanding Sleep Changes with Age
Dr. Bruce elucidates how our sleep patterns evolve significantly as we advance in years. During our younger days, we experience more profound and restorative sleep, allowing our bodies to undergo vital repairs. However, as we reach our 50s, 60s, and beyond, the amount of deep sleep we obtain diminishes substantially. This natural biological shift results in a decline in sleep quality with age, which is further compounded by lifestyle factors and prevalent health conditions associated with later stages of life.
Factors Affecting Senior Sleep
Several factors contribute to the sleep challenges faced by older adults. Many seniors consume caffeine late in the day or indulge in alcoholic beverages during dinner, both of which disrupt normal sleep patterns. Furthermore, older adults tend to take more medications for chronic diseases, which often come with side effects that interfere with sleep. Conditions such as pain, depression, anxiety, and other medical issues also make it increasingly difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Additionally, circadian rhythms tend to shift, causing many older individuals to become naturally drowsy earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning.
Common Senior Sleep Disorders
Dr. Bruce highlights three prevalent sleep disorders that impact seniors: sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep apnea involves brief interruptions in breathing multiple times during the night, leading to oxygen deprivation. While it is more common in overweight individuals, it can affect anyone. Insomnia manifests as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or maintaining uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. Restless leg syndrome is characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs or arms, prompting an irresistible urge to move them.
Promising Solutions for Improved Senior Sleep
Fortunately, recent advancements in sleep treatments offer older adults a range of options to enhance their sleep quality. For mild sleep apnea, a revolutionary device called “Inspire” stimulates the airway during sleep, offering a more convenient alternative to traditional CPAP machines. Emerging medications like “Belsomra” hold promise in addressing insomnia effectively. Additionally, approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy impart healthier sleep habits to combat insomnia without relying on medication.
Dr. Bruce underscores the profound impact of sleep on overall health and quality of life. By gaining insight into age-related changes in sleep and actively seeking solutions for sleep disorders, older adults can continue to experience the deep, restorative sleep that is crucial for their well-being. Prioritizing sleep is a fundamental way for seniors to take charge of their health as they gracefully age. Here’s to restful nights and sweet dreams!