Sometimes, the biggest issue with sleep isn’t achieving it as much as maintaining it, particularly if you’re approaching your senior years. Increasingly, you may find that sleep disorders become their own problem when you’re older, rather than only symptoms of other causes.
Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat is your go-to destination for sleep apnea problems, which may be one reason you don’t feel rested, but any sleep disorder can have negative effects on your health. Discussing your issues with Dr. Scott Bateman may be the first step in your return to revitalizing sleep. Dr. Bateman is a senior care specialist, the ideal place to start to get to the bottom of your less-than-optimal sleep conditions.
Defining sleep disorders
The sleep cycle is a key component in your body’s self-maintenance. To fully refresh, sleep must have a balance of total time asleep, adequate time in each sleep stage, and synchronization with your body’s sleep needs, its circadian rhythm.
Any illness, medication, physical condition, or other factor that interferes with your sleep cycle could qualify as a disorder if it becomes frequent or chronic. It’s also common for several factors, minor in themselves, to combine to interfere with restful sleep. Getting older is one such factor. Here are a few of the common sleep disorders that seniors may encounter.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
When tissue at the back of the throat relaxes and collapses, it can restrict the passage of air as you breathe in your sleep. OSA causes snoring, and it can completely stop your breathing. Your brain wakes you enough to restart breathing, even if you’re not aware of the episode. However, it disrupts your sleep cycle and leaves you tired throughout the day, even when you’re in bed eight hours at night.
The inability to fall asleep, or to fall back asleep when you wake in the middle of the night, is called insomnia. Some studies indicate that the time lost due to unwanted wakefulness can increase nearly half an hour each decade after you reach middle age.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
Cropping up when you’re otherwise relaxed, restless leg syndrome creates sensations that are only relieved when you move your legs. RLS might be associated with periodic limb movement, another sleep disorder, which causes twitching and kicking of the legs as you sleep.
Chronic pain conditions
An indirect cause of sleep disturbances, pain from common chronic conditions like arthritis can interfere with your ability to fall or stay asleep. Even low-level aches can prevent you from reaching deeper levels of sleep.
Medication side effects
Conditions that may not affect your sleep habits could require medications that do introduce sleep disorders. Drugs taken for high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and rheumatoid arthritis are just a few that may interfere with your sleep cycle.
Even consumption of caffeine and alcohol can be enough to disrupt restful sleep, so when you need a medical partner to determine how to sleep better, contact Sheridan Ear, Nose and Throat, by phone or online, to set up your personal consultation.