Sleeping with dementia

As you care for your loved one be on the alert for changes in his/her sleep patterns. These can indicate many things, ranging from health issues requiring a physician’s attention to a need for medication to assist in the sleep process. Of course, it makes sense to try the non-drug treatments first:

  • Establish a regular routine for meals and exercise (but no exercise within four hours of bedtime)
  • Make sure the bedroom is comfortable and use the bedroom only for sleep
  • If s/he wakes up, discourage TV during the period of wakefulness
  • Morning sun can help
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine
  • Treat any pain
  • If your loved one is taking a cholinesterase inhibitor, do not give it before bed

Talk to a physician if the non-drug treatments do not solve the problem, but the Alzheimer’s Association suggests, “Begin low and go slow.”