Research backs these tips: Keep the same sleep schedule every day, even on weekends and when you’re traveling. Stick to a bedtime routine: Use reading, soothing music or a warm bath or face-washing to cue your body and brain that it’s time to wind down.
Over-the-counter sleep aids for elderly adults Common over-the-counter options — such as Unison, Sominex, and Tylenol PM — are readily available at most pharmacies and may relieve short-term sleep issues.
Melatonin has been used successfully for sleep enhancement in healthy individuals, as well as to reduce feelings of jet lag during global travels. This natural hormone is also being tested as a sleep aid with the elderly and other populations.
Temazepam is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine for insomnia. Therefore, based on current utilization patterns, the following section will review pertinent data on temazepam, trazodone, zolpidem, and the newest nonbenzodiazepine—zaleplon—for the treatment of insomnia in elderly patients.
Tips and tricks
As you age your body produces lower levels of growth hormone, so you’ll likely experience a decrease in slow wave or deep sleep (an especially refreshing part of the sleep cycle). When this happens you produce less melatonin, meaning you’ll often experience more fragmented sleep and wake up more often during the night.
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10 Drinks to Help You Sleep at Night
Doxylamine Succinate is the stronger of the two sedating antihistamines. It can be a bit more expensive than Diphenhydramine HCl, but some users find it more effective. That’s because it tends to leave the body more slowly, helping users stay asleep longer.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug, especially dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, constipation, or trouble urinating. Dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion can increase the risk of falling.
Lower doses may help older adults sleep better without disrupting their circadian rhythms and causing prolonged drowsiness. Older adults with dementia should avoid melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Although melatonin is usually considered safer than benzodiazepines, an increased fracture risk has recently been reported with this drug, and caution should be advised for elderly patients at risk for falls. Melatonin is only one option in the armamentarium of sleep solutions for older adults.