What to Ask: Sleep Problems

Older adults often have problems sleeping, including experiencing daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night, and waking up very early in the morning. Sleep problems decrease quality of life and can lead to injury or other health conditions.

Click on each of the topics below to display questions you can ask your healthcare provider about sleep problems. 

Questions about Sleep in General

  1. I don't sleep so well since I've grown older. Is this normal?
  2. How much sleep do I need now that I'm older?
  3. It takes me longer to fall asleep now that I'm older. Is this part of aging?
  4. I wake up a lot now during the night. Is this a problem?
  5. I dream a lot more than I used to. Does this matter?
  6. Is there anything other than medications that will help me sleep better?
  7. Will exercising really improve my sleep?
  8. When is the best time of day to exercise to help me sleep?
  9. Which exercises are best at helping sleep?
  10. Would stopping smoking improve my sleep?
  11. I enjoy a drink in the evening. Will this affect my sleep?
  12. I have a cup of coffee after dinner. Will this affect my sleep?
  13. How do I know if I have a sleep disorder?
  14. I feel sleepy most days. Can this be improved?
  15. I sometimes fall asleep suddenly during the day. Do I need to stop driving?
  16. My legs twitch and I have strange feelings in them when I go to bed. Is there something I can do to help this?
  17. My partner says I move around a lot when I'm asleep. What should I do about this?
  18. My partner says I snore loudly for a lot of the night. Is this a sign I have a sleep disorder?
  19. My partner says there are times when I stop breathing at night. What should I do about this?
  20. I've been feeling down recently and not sleeping well. Can this be helped?
  21. I fall asleep in front of the TV, then can't seem to sleep at night. What should I do about this?
  22. Are there safe medicines I can take to help me sleep?
  23. What are the side effects of sleep medicines?
  24. One of my friends takes tranquilizers. Would this make me less anxious and help me sleep?
  25. Would taking a nap during the day make me feel better?
  26. I wake up each night when I lie on my right hip - it aches and wakes me up. What should I do about this?
  27. I have heard that getting bright light during the day helps to improve sleep. Would bright lights help me?
  28. Does practicing relaxation improve sleep?
  29. Does meditation improve sleep?
  30. Should I try to sleep late on weekends when I'm less busy?
  31. I sometimes am woken up by coughing in the middle of the night. Is this a sign of a problem?
  32. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I can't breathe. What should I do about this?
  33. Is it safe to take melatonin to help me sleep?
  34. If I use a herbal remedy for sleep could it interact with one of my other medicines?

Questions about Sleep Apnea

  1. What is sleep apnea? How is it diagnosed? Can it be treated?
  2. Is there more than one kind of sleep apnea?
  3. Is sleep apnea common in older adults?
  4. How would I know I had sleep apnea?
  5. My partner snores loudly enough to wake me up, and sometimes even stops breathing. What should we do about this?
  6. I never feel rested these days, and sometimes fall asleep in my armchair. What should I do about this?
  7. Is there a connection between high blood pressure and sleep apnea?
  8. I have sleep apnea and am overweight. Should I try to lose weight?
  9. I have several drinks each evening to help me sleep. Would this affect my sleep?
  10. Can prescription medicines affect sleep apnea?
  11. Can the medicines I buy at the pharmacy affect sleep apnea?
  12. Can herbal and other alternative therapies affect sleep apnea?