Alzheimers sleep problems affect the entire household, not just the person with the disease. They often have a hard time sleeping. They may wake during the night and wander around the house. Many people with this disease get their days and nights mixed up. They will sleep during the day and stay awake all night. This is especially hard on caregivers.
It is very important to try to keep your family member in a routine. They will function much better and your life will be easier. You should get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every night. You should also have a specific bedtime routine. What ever works best with your lifestyle. An example would be cup of cocoa, soft music, pajamas, brush teeth, toilet and then lights out. The same sequence every night will help them maintain that memory longer and bedtime will go much smoother.
If Alzheimers sleep problems begin to surface there are a couple of things you should try. Make sure they are getting plenty of exercise during the day and cut down on nap times. Exposure to sunlight will help. Open all of the curtains and let the sun in. Try to get them out in the sun. Sunlight helps regulate the natural sleep cycle. If you can't get sunshine then try adding bright lights in the house. Avoid all stimulants like coffee or tea in the afternoon/evening. No alcohol, it can interfere with medicines and increase confusion.
Do not try sleeping medicine without talking to your doctor. I know there are several over the counter sleep medicines now, but they can cause your family member to be groggy which can lead to falls. Many over the counter medicines can interfere with prescription medicine. Always make sure your doctor knows exactly what medicines the person with Alzheimer's Disease is taking, this includes herbal medicines and vitamins!
Keep the bedroom area walkway clear, especially to the bathroom. A night light should be on. Make sure the bedroom is a calm quiet area. If the Alzheimers sleep problems become to severe and you are not getting enough sleep, ask for help. Talk to family members or friends. Have someone come spend a night or two as often as needed. Do not allow yourself to become sleep deprived. You will both suffer if you do.
Do you need help keeping track of appointments, medicines, vital signs, weights, meals, bowels, and behaviors?
Do you know what stage of Alzheimer's Disease your loved one is in?
Do you know what to watch for next?
Do you have sitters coming in and need to have a better system to help them provide the best care?
Does your loved one have behaviors that you should be tracking?
Do you have all of the information written down you need when you go to your doctor visits to help them understand what needs you may have?
The Caregivers Notebook will help you organize and document the care needed in your home and provide clear direction to those who help you care for your loved one.