Friday, 3 May 2013

Forget the evening tea!

- For a better rest, I drink some tea which, I am told, is good for sleeping.
- Before going to sleep, I drink some warm milk and eat a couple of cookies.
- I drink a lot of water during the day, over 2 liters, mostly at tea-time and after dinner.
- What I prefer is hot chocolate, warm enough to cuddle my stomach.
- When I take my medicine, I drink a large mug of water.
- Yes, but I drink at night, I have a bottle at my bedside table and drink as I wake.
Truth be told, these are all things not to be done, especially by older people. Why?
Because excess liquids at the end of the day, after tea-time and dinner, will increase the necessity to urinate during the night.
Waking up to urinate causes two big issues in older people:
-          Increased difficulty in falling back to sleep. This increases as one gets older. Consequence: one spends more time awake, which can determine insomnia or sleep reduction.
-          Getting up to urinate during the night presents large risks for the elderly. Why? Because they might fall down, and fractures in the elderly are particularly dangerous.
What to do? If you’re in need of urinate during the night, lit up a light, and try to keep yourself from getting confused. Remove any slippery carpets and any impediments or obstacles between the bedroom and the bathroom, and ABOVE ALL ELSE, avoid liquids post dinner time, reducing them to a bare minimum. Remember that the risk of falling down for those that take sleeping drugs is higher.
Don’t forget: Past a certain age, keep from drinking at the end of the day so that you don’t urinate by night. 

Professor Teresa Paiva
Lisbon, May 3rd 2013

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