What Causes Insomnia in Senior Citizens?

Elder Care in Pittsford, NYSenior Care in Pittsford, NY

Being unable to sleep when you want to is incredibly exhausting. For elderly loved ones, it can even become something that worsens other problems and conditions. If your elderly relative is having difficulty sleeping properly, or at all, then it’s important to try to determine what is causing the lack of sleep.

Overall Poor Sleep Habits

We all have phases in our lives when our sleep habits are less stellar than at other times. For senior citizens, these poor sleep habits can run a gamut of different behaviors. Having an irregular pattern for sleeping whether that’s from keeping an erratic schedule or simply traveling a lot does a number on sleeping. Bad habits before sleep, such as watching television in bed, can also contribute. It helps to have your elderly loved one keep a sleep diary of sorts to try to determine if bad habits are contributing to insomnia.


Often elderly loved ones have more than one health condition that requires treatment, and that involves medication. Some medications can cause problems with sleeping properly, and that can be frustrating. If your elderly relative suspects medication may be a contributing factor, definitely bring up the problem with his doctor to see what other options are available.

Pain and Chronic Health Issues

Pain or health conditions that don’t allow your elderly loved one to rest properly are very damaging to sleep patterns. Whether it’s arthritis or something else, such as restless leg syndrome, pain or uncontrollable movement can keep your loved one awake no matter how tired he is. In some cases, your doctor may have recommendations. In others, regular exercise can help a lot. Hiring senior care providers who have experience with specific ailments can be a huge benefit and even improve sleep for your loved one.

Stimulants and Vices

We all have vices, whether it’s that extra cup of coffee late in the day or a nightcap before bed. The problem is that some of those stimulants and vices can wind up causing sleep to be elusive. This is another cause which can be tracked very easily with a sleep diary. Your elderly loved one may not even realize that he’s having coffee so late in the day, for example. Once he sees it on paper, it’s a little easier to manage.

The first task is always to see if you can determine the cause behind the insomnia. Then you can work toward solutions that will help.

If you or an aging loved one are considering in-home senior care in Pittsford, NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134