Most seniors report sleeping less than they did when younger. Sometimes it’s the result of requiring fewer hours of sleep to feel rested, but is often attributed to insomnia. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that almost half of older adults experience insomnia. Many things contribute to insomnia – certain medications, medical conditions, poor sleep habits, stress – can all affect sleep patterns. Although there are sleep aid medications, many seniors have adverse reactions to them.
A recent study reported on Medicalnewstoday.com indicates that frequent binge drinking is a contributing factor to insomnia in seniors. The data was taken from the 2004 Health and Retirement study of 4,970 adults 55 and older who reported having consumed alcohol. Frequent binge drinking (four of more drink on one occasion) sis defined as more than two binge drinking days a week, on average while occasional binge drinking is more than zero, but less than two binge days per week. The research found that occasional binge drinking did not have the same effect on the reporting participants.
Additional Cautions for Alcohol Use by Seniors
The study looked at the insomnia criteria of “difficulty falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, waking too early or feeling unrested in the morning” and how frequently the subjects experienced insomnia in the previous three months. Those reporting any of the above symptoms “most of the time” resulted in the study’s outcome.
Previous research has shown that alcohol and other chemical use combined with older adults’ slower metabolism means a much longer and more potent affecting of body functions. The study’s authors believe this outcome is further evidence that doctors and healthcare providers should be aware of and discuss levels of alcohols use with their senior patients, particularly those reporting sleep disruptions and insomnia.