Many Americans struggle with sleep problems. It may range from one night of restless sleep to an impending habit known as insomnia. About 25 percent of the U.S adult population reports suffering from insomnia with issues of either trouble falling asleep or trouble staying asleep. This issue affects senior citizens as well. However, before you go to pick up that medication to aid in adding a few more “zzzz” to your nights…check out this information of the correlation between medication and sleep.
Older Americans who range in age from 65 to older, are about 13 percent of the American population; and a full 44 percent of Americans (ages 55-84) experience disrupted sleep at least three nights of the week. All the problems with poor sleep habits is related to age because it appears to occur due to declining health, stress, age-related changes, and living in a nursing home/health care facility.
Insomnia can be very dangerous for any age, but especially for seniors. It is linked with a range of harmful health issues such as increased blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, stroke; just to name a few. Many are taking over the counter (OTC) medications to help in the sleep department. However, the frequency of taking these medications and the addictive side effects that may come with them, is a dangerous combination. This is especially true for senior adults.
Most OTC medication comes at the recommendation or even prescription of a doctor. Yet many senior citizens or adults pay little attention to the side effects of OTC sleep medication. These reactions can include cognitive impairment, poor balance, and daytime sleepiness. Besides the side effects, many senior adults are taking OTC sleep medication alongside other pain medications. This combination increases the amount of active ingredients in their system, which can be hazardous.
This is not to say that sleep medication should never be taken. It is simply to point out the potential risks of senior citizens taking these OTC (such as addictive habits forming, combination with other medications, etc); risks that are usually over looked.
If you or a senior citizen you love suffers from insomnia, talk to your doctor about other types of remedies or practices that could help with your falling asleep and staying asleep habits. If medication is taken, also discuss with your doctor the potential risk of side affects and/or any other medications you are taking that may react with the OTC sleep medication.
There are many options when it comes to improving your sleep habits. Look into all options either yourself or with/for a senior citizen you know suffering from sleep related issues.
**(This post was written with the aid of an article obtained from the Huffington Post Senior Citizens online section. Article link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-keaton/sleep-medication_b_5555821.html)**