Sleep disruptions can be stressful for both of you if you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. Here are some tips(sleep issues) for encouraging restful sleep.
Alzheimer’s illness and sleep issues frequently coexist. Learn what causes sleep issues in those who have Alzheimer’s or another kind of dementia and what you can do to assist.
Typical sleep issues associated with dementia
Even while many older folks have trouble sleeping, people with dementia frequently struggle more. Up to 25% of adults 50% of people with severe dementia and 25% of those with mild to moderate dementia may experience sleep disruption. As dementia worsens, sleep difficulties tend to grow worse as well.
Excessive daytime drowsiness and insomnia with trouble falling and staying asleep are examples of potential sleep issues. Both frequent nighttime awakenings and early morning awakenings are typical.
Sundowning is an evening or nighttime occurrence that some people with dementia may encounter. They may experience confusion, agitation, anxiety, and aggressiveness. In this frame of mind, nighttime roaming can be dangerous.
Additionally more frequent in those with Alzheimer’s disease is obstructive sleep apnea. Breathing regularly stops and starts while you’re sleeping due to this potentially dangerous sleep problem.
Sundowning and sleep disturbances might be brought on by a number of factors, including:
- At the end of the day, tiredness, both mental and physical
- alterations to the body clock
- a sleep deficit, which is typical in elderly individuals
- Reduced illumination and more shadows, which can make dementia sufferers anxious and confused
facilitating restful sleep
Sleep issues can be detrimental to both you and the dementia patient. To encourage improved sleep:
- Address fundamental issues. Sleep issues can occasionally be brought on by illnesses including depression, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome.
- Create a routine. Maintain regular eating, waking up, and sleeping schedules.
- Don’t use stimulants. Nicotine, coffee, and alcohol may all disrupt sleep. Use these drugs in moderation, especially at night. Additionally, avoid watching TV when awake at night.
- Encourage your body to move. Walking and other forms of exercise can support improved nighttime sleep.
- Limit your midday naps. Encourage against midday naps.
- Create a serene atmosphere in the evening. By reading aloud or playing relaxing music, you can aid in the person’s relaxation. A dementia patient might sleep better if their bedroom is at a suitable temperature.
- administer medicine. Bupropion and venlafaxine are two examples of antidepressants that might cause insomnia. While donepezil and other cholinesterase inhibitors can help with cognitive and behavioural symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients, they can also make people sleepy. Speak with the doctor if the dementia patient is taking these drugs. It typically helps to take the prescription no later than dinnertime.
- Think about melatonin. Melatonin may aid those with dementia in getting a better night’s sleep and delaying sunset.
- Ensure adequate lighting. Evening bright light treatment helps decrease dementia patients’ sleep-wake cycle disruptions. The anxiousness that might occur at night when the surroundings are dark can also be decreased with enough illumination. Day and night reversal issues could be resolved with regular exposure to daylight.
a loved one awakens in the middle of the night
Keep your cool if the dementia patient gets up in the middle of the night, even if you’re tired. Avoid arguing. Ask the person what they require instead. Uncomfort or pain may be the cause of nighttime agitation. Try to identify the issue’s root cause, such as a full bladder, constipation, or an uncomfortable temperature in the room.
Gently tell them that it is time for bed because it is nighttime. Don’t hold the individual down if they need to pace. Instead, let it happen under your watch.
using sleeping pills
If non-drug methods are unsuccessful, the doctor may suggest taking sleep-inducing drugs.
The risk of falls and disorientation, however, is increased in older adults with cognitive impairment while using sleep-inducing drugs. As a result, sedating sleep aids are often not advised for this population.
If these drugs are recommended, the physician would probably advise trying to stop using them after a normal sleep pattern has been established.
Bear in mind that you also require sleep.
Lack of sleep may prevent you from having the endurance and patience required to care for a dementia patient. The individual could grow upset if they detect your tension.
If at all feasible, alternate evenings with family or friends. You may also find out what assistance is offered in your area by speaking with a doctor, a social worker, or a representative from a nearby Alzheimer’s association.
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