Can the Atkins Diet Help Seniors With Insomnia?

A common problem we all face as we grow older is insomnia.  This probably scares a lot of you because millions of us already suffer with insomnia already.  Sleep medication remains the number one drug prescription and stress if often the cause of the problem in younger adults.  As we age, however, insomnia is caused less by stress and more by the process of aging itself.  This process will actually lead to seniors needing about an hour less sleep per night. 

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Seniors tend have a harder time getting uninterrupted sleep and report awakening earlier than planned, both common symptoms of insomnia.  Sleep deprivation leads to seniors awakening still feeling fatigued and not wholly rested.  This leads to seniors not having enough energy for activities. 

There are numerous factors that may lead to sleep problems with seniors, including medication.  Beta blockers and even many over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines are known to cause drowsiness.  If these medications are taken too early in the day, then you may either find yourself napping or turning in early.  By delaying taking medications known to make you drowsy until bedtime, you should awaken later in the morning feeling more refreshed and having more energy for activities.  However, be sure to check with your doctor before altering your routine.

Diet can play a huge role in your insomnia.  The intake of carbohydrates and processed sugars may cause insomnia in seniors because they cause spikes in the blood sugar levels.  While these spikes may cause temporary bursts of energy, they ultimately will cause your body to become tired faster.  Like a marathon runner choosing to sprint half-way through the race, these energy spikes are short-lived and will lead to burn-out quicker.  A steady and consistent blood sugar level will help you maintain consistent energy throughout the day so you do not get tired and go to bed too early. 

The Atkins diet can help with symptoms of insomnia and help seniors get a more restful sleep because of it advocates minimizing carb intake.  This helps reduce blood sugar spikes and therefore maintains a more consistent supply of energy.  However, seniors need to remember to increase fluid intake while on the Atkins diet as it has a diuretic effect on your body.  Also, seniors should seek out calcium supplements as the Atkins diet also recommends a lowered intake of dairy products. 

While some adjustments need to be made by seniors when on the Atkins diet, the stable energy levels will decrease fatigue in the late afternoon.  This will eliminate the temptation to take naps which are big no-noâ??s where insomnia is concerned.  It is important to avoid any foods, drinks, or activities that may lead to interruptions in your sleep.  By following the Atkins diet, you will also avoid caffeine and sugar-rich foods that also keep people up at night and cause problems with insomnia.  Just be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning the Atkins diet so fluid and calcium levels are monitored and potential adverse side effects are avoided.

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