How to help dementia patients sleep better

What stage of dementia are you in when you sleep most of the day

Sleep is part of the body’s natural process that should not be taken for granted.

As most of us have experienced at one time or another, having sleepless nights or not being able to sleep at all is the real nightmare. However, for someone living with dementia, the severity of sleep disturbances can be more challenging for them and their loved ones.

According to healthtalk.org, people with dementia experience increased daytime sleepiness and nighttime wandering. There are worse cases where persons are no longer able to tell the difference between night and day.

Beyond the effects it has on health, lack of sleep can also exacerbate other diseases. But the good news is that there are ways you can help your loved one get better sleep.

 What is dementia?

 Sleep foundation defines dementia as an irreversible loss of brain function. It is an overall term that covers a wide range of specific medical conditions, which includes:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Vascular dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Others: Parkinson’s, Huntington’s

Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that of those at least 65 years of age, there were an estimated 5.0 million adults with dementia in 2014, and projected to be nearly 14 million by 2060.

Dementia

Dementia and Sleep

According to a review of studies on disturbed sleep and dementia published in 2017, up to 70% of people with cognitive impairment have sleep disturbances. Changes in their brain seem to affect the structure of sleep and the circadian rhythm.

Other factors that may contribute to poor sleep in dementia include:

  • Less exposure to sunlight, which affects the sleep cycle
  • Heart and lung disease
  • Stomach-related conditions
  • Chronic pain
  • Urinary problems
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Medication side effects
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

 Dementia and Sleep Patterns

Depending on the stage of dementia, the sleep pattern can change from sleeping too little to sleeping too much.

As dementia progresses, the brain begins to lose its ability to regulate sleep.

People experiencing this condition often feel sleepy during the day and have difficulty sleeping for long periods at night. Aside from this common situation, people with dementia also experience these conditions:

  • becoming disoriented in the dark if they wake up to use the toilet
  • waking up more often and staying awake longer during the night
  • getting up in the early hours and thinking it’s daytime or time to go to work (disorientation in time)
  • not being able to tell the difference between night and day.

Sleep

Should you let a dementia patient sleep all day?

For many families caring for someone with dementia, sleep is the biggest challenge.

Although it's easier said than done, here are things you can do to help your loved one with dementia sleep better:

Prepare a cool and comfortable bedroom. Make sure the temperature is comfortable, not too hot or too cold. Light exposure is also essential. You can block out light from the windows or use curtains to reduce exposure if needed. Using blackout curtains is a good idea during nighttime to eliminate outside disturbances. Research suggests that light therapy can reduce restlessness and confusion for people with dementia. 

Keep the patient active during the day. Helping patients exercise early in the day can lead to better sleep at night. It also reduces napping and supports overall health. 

Add daytime napping part of the routine. Promote napping for a certain period. Make sure that it doesn’t last for more than 30 minutes. You can also plan some mentally stimulating activities after a nap to help your loved ones stay awake.

Exercise

Homeopathic Treatment For Dementia

Homeopathic medicine is a natural, safe, and effective way of managing symptoms related to dementia. It is prepared from naturally occurring substances that are completely safe to use.

These highly diluted medicines aim to improve brain function and memory power. They also help slow down the progression of dementia and improve the quality of life.

When taking homeopathic medicines, it is recommended that patients follow a healthy lifestyle and guidelines to maximize their potency.

If you’re interested, let Achieve Holistic Wellness guide you in discovering the power of homeopathic treatment for dementia. Email us at contact-us@achieveholisticwellness.com today.

Dementia

 

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