How to Reduce Sleeping Problems for People with Dementia
Sleeping problems are common for people with dementia. So in a sense, caregivers who provide care to seniors with dementia have to battle two serious issues. Juggling dementia and insomnia can be a handful as the senior will have difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning.
The bad thing about such situations is that it only gets worse, leading to a frustrating and exhausting caregiving experience for both the seniors with dementia and their caregivers.
We understand what the situation entails. That is why we will discuss some ways that caregivers like you can reduce sleeping problems for people with dementia.
All you’d need to do is read this blog post until the end!
Create A Bedtime Routine
One way to reduce sleeping problems for people with dementia is to create a bedtime routine. This can include taking a bath, brushing teeth, reading a book, taking a hot milky drink (avoid stimulants like coffee at all costs!), or listening to calming music. It is important that the routine is consistent and takes place simultaneously each night. This will help cue the person with dementia that it is time to sleep.
You could take things a step further by establishing a nighttime and morning routine because such a routine will indicate what time of the day it is. The thing with a bedtime routine is that you adhere strictly to it, or it will not be effective. However, if you get the routine right, the senior will look forward to those activities they normally engage in at the end of the day.
Make The Bedroom Comfy
Another way to reduce sleeping problems for people with dementia is to make sure their bedroom is comfortable and conducive to sleep. This means keeping the room dark, quiet, and cool. If possible, remove as much clutter as possible from the room so that it feels calm and relaxing. The idea is to make the room one that is so comfy that it induces sleep. You also want to keep the room as cool as their health allows. Such a comfortable bedroom temperature will help the person with dementia sleep better.
Part of making the bedroom comfy is ensuring that the bed is also as comfortable as possible for the senior. We recommend using heavy blankets on the bed. These blankets have been designed to help seniors with dementia sleep better. A heavy blanket should be a must-have in such a senior’s bedroom. Besides the heavy blanket, you could try using a scented pillow spray. In case you didn’t know, the smell of lavender has a way of overcoming restlessness, and so it will encourage the senior to sleep better. Combining a scented pillow and a heavy blanket should work some magic.
Set The Right Mood
This tip dovetails into keeping the bedroom comfy. But it is a lot more than just getting the bedroom set upright. It starts with setting the mood early enough by steering the senior in question from having any screen time(T.V or computers)
A great way to set the tone for the night is to use blackout curtains to get rid of any distractions. Then there is light therapy.
While many folks think that keeping a room dark and quiet should help seniors with dementia sleep better, there is an alternative known as light therapy. This is essentially an attempt at using light to induce sleepiness.
If you opt for light therapy, you want to be particular with the kind of light used since the trick with light therapy is to help regulate the body's internal clocks. For example, violet-hued lighting can induce drowsiness, while putting on full-spectrum fluorescent light during the first two hours of the day is also used to put seniors in a relaxed mood. The thing with light therapy that follows a regular pattern can also help with disturbed body clocks.
With that in mind, you also want to consider the senior’s safety since older folks with dementia are wont to wander, except they have senior mobility issues. You could also get a motion sensor light that automatically turns on the senior moves within three metres. That way, such seniors can use the loo when they want without the fear of tripping.
Get To Be More Active In The Daytime
The logic behind this idea is simple. Getting the seniors to exert all of their energy during the day ensures that they have little left at night. So it is only natural that they feel tired and sleepy at night because they exhausted themselves during the day.
So how do you go about this? We recommend that you incorporate activities like outdoor strolls and walks. You might also use this as an opportunity to visit friends and family or even your local dementia café. Besides expending their energy, exposing them to natural daylight helps regulate their internal body clock.
However, when planning such activities, set things up so that they expend energy early in the day to avoid the nighttime restlessness that comes with overworking oneself.
Review Their Medication With A Doctor
Seniors with dementia are often on different medications meant to handle dementia. Interestingly some of these drugs are responsible for the sleeplessness that the seniors with dementia have to battle.
That is why you’d need to review their drugs with their doctor. Their doctors will be able to develop alternative treatments that do not have such drastic side effects on them. If a senior with dementia has difficulty sleeping, talk to their doctor about possible treatments.
Sleeping problems can be frustrating and exhausting for people with dementia and their caregivers. However, there are some things you can do to reduce these problems. Some of the things we mentioned in this blog post include creating a bedtime routine, making sure the bedroom is comfortable and calm, getting them to be more active in the day, and reviewing their medications.
We hope you apply these tips to make your caregiving tasks a lot easier.