Getting up at night is a common issue for senior people. Still, it’s not always safe, especially if they are advanced in age or have specific health or mobility challenges. As a caregiver, it is crucial to understand why your patient is constantly waking up at night so that you can address the issue in the best way possible.
In this review, you will learn what causes older people to get out of bed at night, what you can do to help them stay put, and their comfort fully addressed. Read on to learn:
- Why do seniors get out of bed at night?
- How can I keep a senior person from getting out of bed at night?
- What tips or products can I use to keep a senior person from getting out of bed at night?
Why Do Seniors Get Out of Bed At Night?
Changes in sleep quality and pattern
Changes in sleep patterns happen to seniors as they grow older, and as a caregiver, it is essential to find out your senior person’s sleep pattern so you can help them sleep better through the night.
As a person ages, their quality of sleep starts to lessen, and they find themselves sleeping much lighter and for fewer hours than when they were young. When your elderly loved one is awake during these sessions, they might want to get out of bed and occupy themselves with other activities.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that may make it difficult for your elderly loved one or patient to fall asleep or stay asleep. Research shows that insomnia affects between 30% to 48% of older people and could be why they have trouble sleeping.
This sleep disorder can be classified into two categories:
- Primary insomnia: Your patient may find it hard to sleep and stay in bed at night because of stress or other distractions.
- Secondary insomnia: This is when your patient’s chronic lack of sleep results from a health challenge like depression, diabetes, pain or discomfort while sleeping, or lack of sleep due to medications they may be taking.
Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome is a common reason your elderly patient may keep getting out of their bed at night. Restless leg syndrome is expressed by an uncomfortable sensation in one or both legs, making it challenging to sit still or relax while the older person lies in bed. This syndrome causes an urge to move the legs, leading to frequent trips out of bed at night.
Depending on the extent of this syndrome, your elderly patient may find it challenging to stay in bed as the need to move the leg keeps coming back once they lay back down to sleep.
Advanced sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing stops or becomes shallow during sleep, often causing brief awakenings throughout the night. Elders suffering from sleep apnea may find it hard to maintain healthy sleep as they keep awakening with shortness of breath due to this condition.
Nocturia is a condition that causes a senior person to get out of bed many times during the night to urinate. This condition may be caused by excessive fluids at night or an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or kidney failure.
How Can I Keep A Senior Person From Getting Out Of Bed At Night?
As a caregiver, there are many things you can do to help your elderly patient stay in bed through the night. Here are some of the ways you can help your elderly loved one have better, restful nights:
Urge them to reduce fluid intake at night and go to the bathroom before bedtime
If your elderly parent or patient keeps waking up to go to the bathroom at night, you can try reducing their intake of fluids in the evening. Urge them to take as many fluids as possible during the day to ensure they don’t get dehydrated. Excess fluids keep the bladder active at night, forcing them to get out of bed.
You can also urge your senior loved one to visit the bathroom and fully empty their bladder before getting into bed. Depending on the age or health of your elderly loved one, you can assist the senior loved one walk to the bathroom or provide a bedpan to use before sleeping. You can also suggest using overnight adult diapers for your patient if their nocturia is advanced, instead of getting out of bed whenever they want to visit the bathroom.
Plan for adequate physical exercise and reduce nap time during the day
Physical exercises can be instrumental in helping your senior loved one sleep better at night. You can include non-strenuous exercises like short walks or other physical activities in the park or around the home to exercise the elder’s muscles and stimulate their brain during the day for better sleep at night.
You can also consider limiting the time your elderly person naps during the day. If they must take a nap, reduce the nap time to not more than 20 minutes in a day so that their quality of sleep is not interrupted at night.
Set a regular sleeping time every night
Ensure that your elderly patient or loved one sleeps at a particular time every night. You could also establish a list of bedtime activities that your elderly loved one can do to prepare them for a restful night. These activities can include reading a book or telling them stories that encourage them to sleep better without over-stimulating their brain.
Create a bedtime organizer
If your senior loved one has to wake up at night to take medicine or water, you can create an organizer for them in the bedroom. Ensure that the organizer is easy for the senior person to reach without necessarily getting out of bed.
What Tips or Products Can I Use to Keep A Senior Person From Getting Out Of Bed At Night?
If your elderly patient still needs to get out of bed at night, you can try to be there and assist them with whatever they need to do. You can also make it safer for them to get out of bed at night by:
Install motion-sensitive lights that sense movement and light up the room when your senior loved one gets out of bed.
Ensure the bedroom is free of furniture or mats that the senior person can trip on at night and fall. You can replace the floor mats with non-slip mats and ensure to provide the ageing person with quality, non-slip house shoes to walk around with to avoid falls.
Provide the senior person with an alarm to alert them when it’s time to wake up.
The safety and well-being of your elderly patient is your priority as a caregiver. If at any point you feel that the senior patient or loved one requires a doctor’s attention, ensure to consult their doctor quickly. Also, urge and assist them in taking their medication on time as prescribed by the doctor.
Most seniors are also likely to get lonely most of the time. As a caregiver and the person closest to the senior person most of the time, be their friend and work to reduce their boredom. Having someone to talk to could reduce their stress and loneliness and keep them in bed through the night.