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Surprising Foods that Disrupt Senior Sleep

If you provide home care for a senior parent or loved one and he or she is having difficulty sleeping, you may want to reevaluate his or her diet before calling the family doctor. While almost everyone is aware that sugar and caffeine laden beverages are a no-no prior to getting some shuteye, certain foods may be an easily overlooked source of sleep problems for the elderly. As a matter of fact, there are three foods in particular that could be keeping your aging parent or loved one awake at night.

  1. Roughage

    Green roughage, a fibrous indigestible material found in vegetables, is often recommended to help regulate senior digestion, but should not be consumed in the late evening hours. Broccoli and cauliflower are high in roughage/fiber content in particular, which means that the body will continue to digest these vegetables late into the night. Along with some stomach discomfort, bloating and gas while attempting to sleep can also occur. In order to ensure that your loved one gets their fiber and sleep, foods such as broccoli and cauliflower should be served earlier in the day.

  2. High Protein Foods

    Protein, the building block of muscle, is essential for seniors, but not at bedtime. Although there are a variety of sources of protein, some are more likely than others to contribute to sleeping problems. Steak is a great example of this. As with fiber, the body works harder to digest sources of protein that are high in fat. Caregivers should opt for protein sources that are more easily digested by the body such as chicken and turkey during the evening hours.

  1. Fresh Fruits

    Fruit is always a healthy snack, but not the best choice for an aging parent a few hours before hitting the hay. Fruits such as watermelon and honeydew may cause the need for more frequent urination. This will not only keep mom or dad awake, but can also be a risk factor for falls if mobility is not at optimal levels. Berries and grapes are better alternatives to fruits that fall within the melon category prior to sleep.

If diet changes and an increase in activity during the day do not help promote sleep for your aging parent or loved one, schedule an appointment with his or her doctor. A medical professional will be able to provide recommendations for better sleep, and can also identify if an underlying cause may be the reason for your loved one’s inability to sleep at night.

For family caregivers who are unable to assist with a parent or loved one’s bedtime routine regularly, learn more about in-home hourly care in Annapolis. With the help of an hourly caregiver from Home Care Assistance of Annapolis, your loved one can receive the assistance they need in the evenings to ensure a good night’s sleep and you can enjoy peace of mind knowing a trained and professional individual is by their side to assist throughout the night. To request more information or a complimentary consultation with a friendly Care Manager, call 443-302-2771.