Insomnia and Your Aging Parent

Elderly Care in Wheaton IL: Insomnia

Unfortunately for many seniors, finding a good night’s rest is difficult, if not impossible.

The way we sleep as we get older changes and research shows that elderly people often have less REM sleep than younger individuals and that lack of REM sleep can lead to more waking up in the middle of the night and will affect how refreshed they will feel after a night of sleeping. Bad sleep doesn’t necessarily mean your parent suffers from insomnia. Insomnia needs to meet several requirements in order to be diagnosed in your parent. If your parent has discussed with you or her elderly care provider that she’s not sleeping well, ask her if any of these symptoms affect her receiving a good night’s sleep:

-Consistently having problems falling asleep or staying asleep, despite feeling tired.

-A lack of desire or ability to go to bed at a “normal” time.

-Waking up much earlier in the morning than desired and then not being able to fall back asleep.

-Inability to fall asleep without help from a caregiver or elderly care provider.

To be diagnosed with insomnia, your parent must also be feeling daytime impairments because of the lack of good sleep. It might be something you have noticed; your elderly care provider has experienced while serving your parent, or something your parent may be experiencing in her everyday life. Daytime impairments could include extreme fatigue, moodiness, or trouble concentrating.

If your parent has been diagnosed with insomnia, you can help her sleep better by instituting some new rules and habits around her bedtime to assist the body in getting ready for sleep.


1.) – Set up the bedroom to be a “sleep-only” environment. This may mean you’ll need to move her TV out of her room so that she can no longer watch TV while in bed. If your parent likes to use a laptop or play video games, those activities should only take place outside of the bedroom and never in her physical bed. These activities should not only be avoided in bed at night but also anytime during the day. The goal is to help her brain link being in bed only with being asleep.

2.) – Create a temperature in the bedroom that is more comfortable for sleep. This might be programming the house thermostat to turn down during the night or maybe putting a fan in your parent’s room. Being overly warm at night can make sleep difficult.

3.) – Make the room dark at night. If your parent is near streetlights or other outside sources of light that she can’t control, look at purchasing black-out curtains or have your parent use an eye covering while sleeping.

4.) – Create a quiet environment. Some people may enjoy complete silence while others prefer having white noise in the background to create a calm environment for sleeping.


During the day, getting adequate exercise, eating well, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine and tobacco in the evening hours will also help your parent sleep better and avoid insomnia.

If making these at-home changes is not alleviating your parent’s sleep issues, you may need to have her visit a sleep specialist who can recommend other options such as medication or other lifestyle changes.


If you or an aging loved-one is considering hiring  Elderly Care in Wheaton, IL, please contact the caring staff at A Mishle Group Services, Inc. today. (630) 888-6644 

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