Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Alzheimer’s and Sleep Problems

Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – Alzheimer’s and Sleep Problems

For the exhausted caregiver, sleep can’t come too soon. For many people with Alzheimer’s disease/ dementia, however, the approach of nighttime may be a difficult time. Many become restless, agitated, and irritable around dinnertime.

Here are some tips to help with your loved one’s sleeping problems:

  1. Encourage exercise during the day and limit daytime napping, and make sure the patient does not become too fatigued during the day, because that may increase late afternoon restlessness.
  2. Try to schedule more physically demanding activities earlier in the day. Bathing could be earlier in the morning, appointment and large family meals could be at mid-day.
  3. Set a quiet, peaceful tone in the evening to encourage sleep- schedule simple, calming activities in the afternoon and evening. Keep the lights dim, eliminate loud noises, and play soothing music if the patient seems to enjoy it.
  4. Keep bedtime at a similar time each evening. Developing a bedtime routine may help.
  5. Restrict access to caffeine late in the day.
  6. During the afternoon hours, make sure lighting is adequate- not too bright and not too dim (reduce shadows). Use night lights in the bathroom, hall, and bathroom if the darkness is frightening or disorienting.
  7. Reassure arguing or asking for explanations. Rational expectations on the caregiver’s part only provoke the patient’s frustration.

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