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Sleeplessness

Individuals with dementia may have sleep problems, including insomnia, excessive sleepiness during the day, or shifts in sleep cycles so that they are sleeping during the day and awake during the night.
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  Strategies for Managing Sleep Disruptions
  • Strategies during the day
  • Strategies during the evening
  • Strategies at night


Strategy
During the day
  • Schedule short naps after lunch.
  • Eliminate excessive sleeping or napping during the day.
  • Provide adequate exercise and activity throughout the day.
  • Remove caffeine and alcohol from the diet.


Strategy
During the evening
  • Eliminate liquid intake after 6:00 pm (frequent night-time urination can disturb sleep), except perhaps for a very small glass of warm milk or herbal tea.
  • Begin to 'wind down", creating a relaxing atmosphere before bed, using massage and soft music.
  • Do not try to accomplish tasks that might increase agitation.
  • Provide a light snack before bed. Don't allow individuals to go to bed hungry.
  • Continue bedtime rituals or routines from the past; always toilet before bed.
  • Do not lay out clothes for the next day; they may act as a "daytime" cue and promote wakefulness.


Strategy
At night
  • Carefully control bedroom temperature and lighting.
  • Provide a familiar, comfortable bed.
  • Ensure easy well-lit access to the bathroom, a commode or urinal.
  • Consider hiring a nighttime companion to allow daytime caregivers some rest.
  • Avoid using sleep medications unless absolutely necessary and prescribed, and if they are used it should be a short-term solution.
  • Ensure that pain is adequately managed.



 
 
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