Help a Friend Get Better Sleep

By Clinton Marquardt - Sleep & Fatigue Specialist

December 5, 2012

better sleep, insomnia, senior's sleep, sleep disorder

A friend recently asked me how he could get his older father some help for his sleep. He was waking up a lot. I wrote him an e-mail explaining what he could do. I am sharing it with you, in case you would like to help someone with their sleep problem. If you would like a copy of the attachments I mention, let me know. Here’s the e-mail:

“See if you can talk him into having an overnight sleep study performed. The process is rather pleasant and can result in some great relief. Have his MD use the attached sleep study requisition (PSG) form to ask a sleep lab to investigate sleep apnea and periodic limb movements. I recommend the sleep lab at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. It’s one of the best in Ottawa. There is also a sleep lab at the Renfrew Victoria Hospital. A list of other Canadian sleep labs can be found here: It may be out of date, so have your Dad’s MD call the labs before sending the sleep study request to confirm the referral procedure, wait list time, etc.

If he won’t go to a sleep lab, the next best thing is to have him complete the Sleep Advisor assessment. It will give your Dad a really good idea of what is going on and will even tailor a suggested treatment program to his needs. The Sleep Advisor was developed by a sleep specialist a few years ago to replace the need for an overnight sleep study, see There used to be an on-line version but I can’t find it . The Sleep Advisor will guide your Dad to the next step, treatment. If he skips the first two steps, the diagnosis, then he can try to treat the problems separately.

If we assume his sleep problem is waking up due to a breathing issue, then have your Dad buy an anti-snoring pillow. Here is a link to the one I used to sell: . I use one every now and then and I find it really comfortable. If the pillow does not help, then have your Dad try an anti-snoring mouthpiece (mandibular advancement device-MAD). The best one I have found is the SnorBan. It can be purchased here: This is by far the most effective one and it is very affordable. If your Dad uses my special code: “CM2020” during the order process he will save 15%. The next step up is to have one custom made by a dentist for $500 – $1,000.

If reducing the snoring does not help, the next step is to assume that periodic limb movements (PLMs) are waking him up. I have attached a PLM strategies list for your Dad to follow. Some of the steps will require the help of an MD, especially point 10 and onward.

Lastly, if the treatment approaches above don’t help, then breathing and PLMs are likely not the issue. We can assume that the sleep problems are behavioural and he likely has psycho-physiological insomnia. In which case he can try these approaches:

Sleep Hygiene:

Stimulus Control:

Sleep Restriction:

I wrote a bunch of articles that might also help at including this one on senior’s sleep:

Let me know how it works out,


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