Why Sleep Deprivation Can Be Dangerous for Aging Adults

By 9  am On


Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and advanced sleep phase disorder are common among seniors. Along with the normal aches and pains associated with aging, the elderly are susceptible to illnesses like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis, which can make it increasingly difficult to get deep and restful sleep. If your elderly loved one is frequently missing out on sleep, it’s crucial to seek professional medical attention because sleep deprivation can actually be hazardous to his or her health. Here are a few reasons why. 


Difficulty Staying Focused

A lack of sleep can make it hard to focus on even the most basic tasks. If getting dressed was a challenge before, selecting appropriate clothing can become infinitely more frustrating once a few nights of sleep have been missed. Decreased focus can also pose a serious safety hazard for your loved one, particularly if he or she cooks. A senior who can hardly keep his or her eyes open is likely to forget the oven or a burner on the stove has been left on. 


Lowered Immunity

Sleep helps the body refresh and restore itself. When seniors don’t get enough sleep, all of their internal systems and functions are affected. Sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on immune system function, making seniors less able to fight off illness or successfully manage health conditions they’ve already been diagnosed with. 

Seniors can get adequate rest at night by making healthy lifestyle choices. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of senior home care. Assisting Hands Home Care provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.


Increased Risk of Emotional Illness

Long-term sleep deprivation can make aging adults more likely to develop various forms of emotional illness. Insufficient rest makes it harder to manage and adapt to stress. Though moodiness and irritability are early signs of sleep deprivation, full-blown panic attacks, chronic anxiety, and regular emotional outbursts indicate a serious need for outside help.


Decreased Cognitive Functioning

Seniors who rarely get restful sleep tend to have significantly lower cognitive abilities than those who maintain regular sleep schedules. Sleep deprivation can cause distortion of memory, confusion, and significantly reduced mental capacity. Over time, skills related to problem-solving and decision-making may also decrease. 


Older adults with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia often have difficulty falling asleep and getting the high-quality rest their brains and bodies need. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Frederick families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.


Various Physical Effects

In addition to impacting mood and overall brain functioning, insufficient sleep can also take a serious toll on your loved one’s physical health. Seniors are more likely to have muscle and joint discomfort due to heightened sensitivity to pain, which can also place an undue amount of stress on internal organs. Sleep-deprived seniors can also experience decreases in sugar metabolism, insulin production, muscle strength, and respiratory endurance. 

Lack of sleep can lead to a wide variety of medical conditions for aging adults. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care Frederick service. Frederick families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Reach out to us at Assisting Hands Home Care if you need compassionate professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (301) 786-5045.