Slumberless Senior? 6 Common Causes of Sleeping Problems in Aging Adults

So, you’ve found yourself over the hill and over exhausted. As an aging adult, you may find yourself waking up on the wrong side more times than not. If sound sleep is soundlessly morphing into a far-off pipe dream, it’s time to take stock and pinpoint the causes of your sleepless nights.

Whether you find yourself tired earlier in the evening or tossing and turning more often than you did in your youth, side sleepers shouldn’t turn their back to the nightmarish side effects of sleep deprivation. Slumberless sleep for seniors is still a cause for concern.

Are you daydreaming of a solution to your sleepless nights? Take a look at the common causes of sleeping problems in aging adults. 


Many seniors deal with chronic pain due to arthritis or an old injury, making it hard to fall asleep. Luckily, there are ways to manage pain that may make sleeping easier.

For example, zero-gravity lift chairs, like these, could make all the difference without the need for extra meds. A zero-gravity lift chair can fully recline, provide comforting heat and massage, and help you sink into the sound sleep of years past.

A zero-gravity position reduces skeletal pressure points. It also places your feet just slightly above your heart, reducing pressure in your chest and lungs and allowing you to take deeper, fuller breaths. 

Snoring and sleep apnea

As we age, snoring and sleep apnea becomes more prevalent. Unfortunately, sleep-related breathing disorders are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Not to mention, breathing disorders can also interrupt your sleep.

Luckily, there are treatments your doctor can prescribe to help. Reducing alcohol and other sedatives may also be beneficial.

Restless leg syndrome

Restless leg syndrome may be to blame if you feel itching, crawling, or restlessness when trying to fall asleep. This condition is relatively common among senior citizens and may have to do with low iron levels or deteriorating health, though the cause isn't fully understood.

In any case, talking to your doctor about it can help. These medical professionals can test your iron levels and suggest possible interventions to make falling asleep that much easier.

Lack of exercise

Regular exercise can promote better sleep. Unfortunately, logging your weekly exercise can become more difficult as we age. While there are specific exercises to avoid, there are plenty of low-impact activities elderly folks can participate in without fearing injuries or long-term bodily injury. For example, walking, water aerobics, and chair yoga can serve as a viable substitute for afternoons spent tethered to the treadmill or showing off your weightlifting skills. 

Poor sleep habits

Falling asleep with the TV on, drinking alcohol before bed, and not having a bedtime routine can all contribute to poor sleep. While kicking poor sleep hygiene to the curb can prove challenging, establishing a healthy ritual before bed can make all the difference in your sleep quality.

For starters, be sure your room is dark and cool. For sleep that recharges, try treating yourself to a warm bath or a medication session before curling up for the night. 


Aging isn't without stress. You might feel anxious over life changes like retirement, or you could be dealing with financial woes. In any case, stress can negatively affect sleep patterns.

You can combat stress with relaxation practices. Meditation, breathwork, or journaling might help. If things still feel out of control, consider talking to a therapist. They can help you manage life's significant events.

Final thoughts

Your sleep quality might take a hit as you age. However, if you're experiencing sleep troubles due to chronic pain, sleep apnea, stress, or other factors, step into the driver’s seat and act as your own healthcare advocate.


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