Insomnia in Older Adults

September 17, 2010

Insomnia is an increasingly common complaint among older patients.  It is important to realize that insomnia is often linked to other health conditions. Both short term and chronic insomnia can be caused by stress, pain, changes in a patient’s environment, or new medication.

Your insomnia could be linked to depression, anxiety, or a variety of other medical disorders.

A healthy night’s sleep is essential to physical and mental health. Sleep is vital for our concentration and memory and maintaining our immune system. A National Sleep Foundation poll of older adults found a relationship between both physical and mental health and the quantity and quality of sleep. Older adults with more medical conditions and a less optimistic outlook on life reported sleeping less than the recommend 7-9 hours per night.

Here a few things you can try on your own before you see a physician for your sleep problems:

1)      Reduce your mental stress. Open up about your troubles- talk with a friend or therapist or write down your thoughts in a journal.

2)      Get out of bed when you can’t sleep. Spending excessive amounts of time in bed awake helps reinforce insomnia.

3)      Exercise regularly.

4)      Avoid naps.

5)      Try a small snack before bed. Carbohydrates like a cracker or cookie can help promote the sleep process.

6)      Smoking and drinking can prevent you from the hours of restful sleep you need. If you can’t quit, try to stop at last 3 hours before bedtime.

7)      If you’ve tried these common tips but continue to have trouble with your sleep, see your family physician or a local sleep specialist.

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Dr. Rosenberg to Speak at Drowsy Driving Press Conference

September 2, 2010

Dr. Russell Rosenberg, CEO of NeuroTrials Research and the Atlanta Sleep Medicine Clinic, will be speaking at a press conference this Thursday, September 2 in Tampa, FL. The press conference will introduce Florida’s statewide “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.”

As vice chair of the National Sleep Foundation, Dr. Rosenberg will be commenting on the effects and risks of drowsy driving.

The recently passed “Ronshay Dugans Act” designates the first week of September as “Drowsy Driving Week” throughout the state of Florida. Representative Alan Williams welcomed the signing into law of Senate Bill 971. The bill also encourages transportation officials to educate law enforcement and the public that driving while drowsy can be a deadly combination. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sixty percent of Americans admit that they have driven while feeling drowsy.

Eight year old Ronshay Dugans passed away when a drowsy cement truck driver crashed into her school bus in 2001. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drowsy driving is responsible for about 100,000 car crashes a year.

The press conference will be held in the community room of the Ptak Orthopedic and Neurosciences Building. Other guest speakers will include David Westberry, Communications Director, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Representative Alan Williams, Florida House of Representatives, District 8.