Alzheimer’s disease can change a person’s sleeping habits. While your loved one might have had no sleep problems before the disease struck, she might now struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting up in the morning. It can be frustrating to a caregiver who simply wants both their loved one and themselves to get a good night’s sleep. Talking to an Alzheimer’s care provider about helping with bedtime routines can be a good way to start.
With the professional training an Alzheimer’s care provider has, they can help come up with solutions that you can use each night and morning to help your loved one have a better night’s rest. While your Alzheimer’s care provider will not be there 24 hours a day, they might suggest some of these six tips to help you each evening.
Keep Calm in the Evenings
This might mean that activities that require more energy will need to be done during the day. If bathing at night gets your loved one agitated, having an Alzheimer’s care providers come in the mornings to bathe him might help to get that personal care chore out of the way so that in the evenings he can unwind before going to bed. You might find playing calming music and watching calm shows another great way to set a peaceful mood before bed.
Even if your loved one enjoys his coffee, make sure to switch it over to caffeine-free by mid-afternoon so that the caffeine doesn’t interfere with his ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Your loved one might have been able to drink caffeinated drinks right up until bedtime when he was younger, but as a person gets older, the body takes longer to process the caffeine so eliminating it early in the day will help at night.
Provide Daily Exercise Opportunities
Your Alzheimer’s care provider may be a good resource to take your loved one for a walk around the block or to the local outside market during the day so that when evening comes, he’ll feel tired and ready to sleep. Don’t have him exercise too close to bedtime as it can then interfere with sleep. Daily activity each afternoon will help him fall asleep and stay asleep each night.
Discourage Long Naps
While your loved one might want to lay in bed or on the couch and sleep all day, sleeping too much in the day interferes with night sleeping so gently encourage only short naps and provide enough distractions to keep him awake during the day.
Having a good routine each night, helps his body and his mind prepare for bedtime. Reading or listening to calming music before bed can help him ease into bed each night.
Make sure his room is comfortable. Staying asleep may have to do with comfort. Make sure the temperature is right and that while the room should be dark, he might need a nightlight to help him adjust if he does wake up or needs to use the facilities at night.
It might take time to discover what works and what doesn’t, but once you have a good routine set, your loved one will be more likely to sleep better.