If you’re caring for someone with dementia, improving sleep should be a priority. Adequate rest can improve a person’s mood, health, and quality of life – as well as your own. Learning how to support healthy habits during the day and how to calm dementia patients at night can help you avoid nighttime dementia episodes.
Here are a few ways you can encourage a better sleep pattern:
- Check for other medical conditions. Both sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are signs of increasing age and have symptoms that will easily wake someone with dementia. If you discover that your parent/partner has either of these medical conditions, it’s wise to see a doctor and ask for assistance.
- Review any medication being taken. The side effects of some dementia drugs may not promote restful sleep, so speak with your loved one’s primary care physician.
- Encourage activity during the day. Help your loved one stay physically, socially, and mentally active throughout the day. Remember, every day doesn’t need to be filled with multiple activities. Be sure to spread the activities out to minimize exhaustion and confusion.
- Create a soothing environment. Make sure your loved one’s room is set up to promote good sleep. The room should be dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using a white noise machine to minimize external noises and agitation.
- Establish a sleep schedule and routine. Try to get your loved ones to go to bed at the same time each night, and limit daytime naps. Creating a calm bedtime routine may also help.