Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tips for Improving Sleep

If your care recipient with dementia has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, consider these non-pharmacologic approaches for improving sleep before or in conjunction with pharmacologic approaches.

  1. Encourage the person to use the bedroom for sleeping only. Discourage the person from staying in bed while awake, watching television, or reading.
  2. Establish a comfortable, familiar, and secure sleeping environment.
    • Make sure the person’s bed and pajamas are comfortable.
    • Maintain a comfortable temperature for the elderly, who tend to be more sensitive to cold.
    • Have extra blankets available.
    • Place security objects, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, within easy reach.
    • Make sure the room is quiet. Even quiet noises can be stressful to a person with dementia. 
  3. Maintain a regular time and routine for going to sleep at night and rising in the morning.  Try to make the evening hours relaxing. 
  4. Try to limit naps during the day to no more than 20-30 minutes. Discourage naps in the late afternoon and evening.
  5. Schedule regular exercise; try to time it no more than 4 hours before bedtime.
  6. A snack prior to bedtime may help reduce awakenings during the night due to hunger.
  7. Reduce or eliminate the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine, especially in the evening.  Reduce the intake of liquids just before bedtime. 
  8. Make sure the path to the bathroom is well lit and clear. Leave a nightlight on in the bathroom.  Make sure clothing is simple and easy to disrobe for using the toilet.
  9. If the person with dementia wakes up during the night, assume that s/he is disoriented and help orient and reassure her/him. Remind the person that it is time for sleeping. Find out if there is something s/he needs to help her/him go back to sleep.
  10. If the person with dementia awakens upset, offer reassurance that everything is all right and that everyone is safe. Speak softly and quietly using a relaxed tone. Consider using distraction.
  11. Bright light can help regulate the body’s biological clock (circadian rhythm). Seek sunlight exposure during the day. Bright light therapy using a light box may also help regulate the body’s biological clock. 
  12. Try to manage pain symptoms as much as safely possible prior to bedtime. 
  13. Consult a physician about any underlying health problems, pain management, and sleep problems if indicated. 


Padmanaban said...

If you feel sleepy or tired during daytime, then there may be possibilities of Sleep apnea. It is the worst case and one cannot find it themselves. Consult your family members or your partner who sleep along with you regarding your problem. If you had Sleep apnea then proper care should be taken to cure the problem.

Anonymous said...

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Have a nice day

John said...

Great Blog I am sure will be helpful for many and solving problem of snoring for others. Keep up a good work for Sleep Apnea Cures.