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Old 04-25-2014, 07:31 PM
 
Location: California
4,556 posts, read 5,482,589 times
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The wedge pillow is because many older people have a weak stomach muscle so the angle helps keep acid from backing into areas where it doesn't belong.

A full sleep study should identify any apnea/hyper apnea issues. If someone stops breathing more than five times an hour taking sleep meds could prevent them from waking up soon enough to start breathing again. If a person is having a lot of dreams during the night it indicates that they are not falling into a restorative sleep and should have a study done. Some doctors try to do a sleep study on the cheap by sending a patient home with only a finger monitor for the data. That isn't a complete study so pick your sleep doctor with care. Apnea / Hyper Apnea can cause the heart to work harder than it should to get enough air so it is a serious issue.
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:10 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
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None of those things like melatonin or valerian work for dh (or worked for me either). I think he will go to a natural foods store and ask them for something. The people who said prescriptions just make you worse are right.

I'm surprised that more people here don't have some sort of sleep problems. Friends used to talk about their elderly (hate that word) parents not being able to sleep so I thought it was a part of getting older for many people.

I've heard a lot about restless leg too. I know of someone who will not take the prescribed medication and sleeps on the couch instead. dh had it but he took magnesium and zinc and it seems to be gone now.
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:11 PM
 
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Yes and sleep apnea has been linked to insomnia, weight gain, heart attack, stroke, depression, fatigue, and a myriad of other conditions. Heidi60 has it right. Get a full sleep study at a sleep center if you are having sleep problems that continue month after month.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV
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I've found that Unisom works rather well for me.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,986 posts, read 14,450,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in_newengland View Post
None of those things like melatonin or valerian work for dh (or worked for me either). I think he will go to a natural foods store and ask them for something. The people who said prescriptions just make you worse are right.

I'm surprised that more people here don't have some sort of sleep problems. Friends used to talk about their elderly (hate that word) parents not being able to sleep so I thought it was a part of getting older for many people.

I've heard a lot about restless leg too. I know of someone who will not take the prescribed medication and sleeps on the couch instead. dh had it but he took magnesium and zinc and it seems to be gone now.
I have nights when I either can't get to sleep or wake up and stay awake. I hate those nights!

The heating pad at my neck seems to help me the most consistently. I took Melatonin for several months and that seemed to help, but the bottle label seems to indicate that one should not take it permanently. And I thought it might be making me a bit groggy in the daytime, so I discontinued. If I need it again, I can take it again.

Is your DH getting exercise during the day? I always sleep better when I've been to the gym.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:12 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 84,044,795 times
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With me its all about getting enough exercise and feeling tired. Then I sleep like a kid not remembering the night at all.It's really is even different from when I was working. Likely the wedge had to do with hip as many who have them replaced have to sleep that way.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
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In my observation, sleep is like a lot of other things for the aging: as we age we don't change from what we always were ... it just becomes much more intense. The older people I have met who have a terrible time sleeping always had a touch of that issue when they were younger. To the other extreme, my elderly mother sleeps all the time. Two naps a day and still goes to sleep on schedule at night. But she never had any trouble falling asleep when she was young.

I was surprised to see that your husband was prescribed Remeron for a sleep aid. I have drug-resistant clinical depression and Remeron was one of the anti-depressants that was prescribed to me once after others had failed. I had a similar reaction to your husband's because "zombie" was the word I used. My shrink encouraged me to keep taking it even when my initial reaction was too much sleep and hang-over the next day, claiming I would "adjust" to it. Then I spent Christmas vacation with a friend and she said, "If you don't tell your doctor to take you off that stuff, I'm going to call and tell him. You are a danger to yourself and others and no way should you be driving a car as long as you're on that pill." So I got off it after that. And when I did, the doctor claimed it was a "very mild" drug. Maybe for some people ...

I am likewise sensitive to other medications that have sleepiness as a side effect. I tried Zyrtec for my allergies, just taking half a pill the first time. I went to sleep immediately, slept for the better part of the day and felt hung-over for the next 24 hours. On half a pill of an OTC drug! So if your husband is like me, I don't think Ambien would be the answer for him either. I think some people just have an extreme sensitivity to certain medications. If any advisory label says "don't operate machinery while taking this," I know it's not for me.

I used to have terrible foot and leg cramps a lot that kept me up at night but I did find a simple answer for them. I drink a cup of Gatorade before I go to bed. A nurse suggested it to me and it works 100% for me. Even if the cramps have already started, Gatorade takes them away (I use G2 to avoid the sugar). I tried potassium pills and they had no effect, but Gatorade is a wonder drug for me.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:40 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 5,085,406 times
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I have sleep issues, but I just decided to go with the flow. I'm retired, so I sleep when I can.

I might go two or three nights on little sleep, but sleep like a log on the fourth. If I fall asleep during the day, it's a bonus! I feel a lot better since I decided not to fight it.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:54 AM
 
975 posts, read 1,098,650 times
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Default study: sleep medications bad for elderly

Agree with Jardinbelle.

My doctor recommended magnesium, alto it didn't work for me, it works for some people.

Melatonin helps me (I'm 66) and helps my father (93).
Not all the time.
I find some things work some of the time, I switch around a lot.

what I've found best is a combination of herbs-
for example I use an extract (the one I use is from Herb Pharm, but many herb companies have them).
It is a combo of herbs known to help sleep.
I put some in a glass of water, and usually am gone before I finish.

Also a homeopathic by Boiron works for me sometimes- one is called quietude and the other is sedalia.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jardinbelle View Post
Forget those Rx pills, they are bad and for the elderly impair cognitive functioning. Have dh take magnesium, it's safe and he will sleep like a baby. Also cheap and drug companies don't make anything so you won't see it advertised. Trust me on this one.

Help Me Sleep: Magnesium Is the Secret for Sleep Problems | Marek Doyle
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Old 04-26-2014, 07:03 AM
 
975 posts, read 1,098,650 times
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Default yoga too

I started doing a daily yoga practice for health reasons - to maintain flexibility, and general good health.
Like biscuitmom, an unintended, surprise, "golden side effect" as you say - turns out that it helps me sleep.

again, not 100% of the time.
but over a period of time, I have noticed that if I do yoga regularly, I'll be sleeping a lot better than if not.

I think for those of us who may have long-time insomnia, or who severe, chronic stress in life, it is illusionary to think that - if you take one herbal remedy, one night, that you are guaranteed a good night sleep.

There are so many factors to consider.

I know if I take a xanax - very rarely and only in time of really bad insomnia- it will work, but I would never take it more than once a month; it is very addictive.

I'd rather have occasional or even often insomnia, than be addicted.

and not everyone, esp older, needs 8 hours of sleep a night.

there was a study that suggests older humans (I mean earlier, prior to industrialism) used to sleep for a while, then wake up and do some fun thing, - like sex, or think, or talk - and then go back to sleep.
so this idea that 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is necessary, is a modern, and not necessarily correct idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuitmom View Post
Even if they don't initially cause unpleasant side effects (and it's likely they will), they'll either lose effectiveness or over the long term impair both cognition and bodily functions like balance. If used, they should be basically like band-aids, occasionally and for only a short time. Sleep meds are not like anti-depressants in that they take awhile to kick in and must be used regularly to maintain effectiveness. Quite the opposite.

Even before I retired, I had both the "can't go to sleep because my mind is racing" and "wake up at 2 am, can't go back to sleep, my mind is racing" syndromes. I never take any prescription or otc sleep meds, I arise at a respectably early hour, eat lightly, take magnesium, have ample physical activity, etc. However I did all those while I still had sleep problems.

Now I don't. Golden ticket for me seems to be the structured spiritual and meditation discipline I started in summer 2012. Long story short, I learned how to quiet those racing thoughts. Improved sleep was a genuine surprise and a golden side effect; it certainly wasn't a goal. I was seeking answers and peace in general. I do my long study and meditation in the morning, do a few brief (5-10 min) meditations throughout the day but none at night. When I go to bed, I can read a few pages from a dull book (not a spiritual one, currently reading Lauren Bacall's autobiography), start nodding off, turn out the light, say a few silent words of prayer, then I'm out for several hours.
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