Getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult when you have stress related to your loved ones’ dementia. Family members providing home care who develop excess sleepiness can quickly fall into caregiver burnout.
Dementia can cause changes in sleeping patterns, which can make it difficult for caregivers to get the rest they need. In this blog post, we will discuss:
- What is Alzheimer’s?
- What are the typical sleeping patterns of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia?
- What are helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep while living with dementia?
- Why do some people with dementia sleep more?
- What is sundowning?
- What are long-term care options near you?
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes memory, thinking, and behavior problems. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80 percent of cases. Dementia affects people of all ages but is most common in older adults.
Over an estimated six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The progressive brain disorder slowly destroys mental function and eventually even the ability to carry out basic tasks of daily living.
What are the typical sleeping patterns of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. They may also sleep more during the day after they develop dementia. This effect can be difficult for caregivers who are trying to get their own rest at night.
There are a number of reasons why people with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty sleeping:
- The disease can cause changes in the brain that affect sleep patterns.
- In addition, memory loss and confusion can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Anxiety and depression are also common in people with Alzheimer’s and can contribute to sleep problems.
However, here are some helpful tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This routine will help your loved one’s body get used to sleeping at certain times of the day.
- Create a calm and comfortable sleeping environment. This may include making sure the room is dark, quiet, and cool.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. These substances can interfere with sleep.
- Exercise during the day to help promote better sleep at night. Just be sure to avoid exercise close to bedtime as this can make it harder to fall asleep.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends avoiding sleep medications for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. These pharmaceutical approaches can increase the likelihood of falls and come with other side effects that are not beneficial.
Why do Alzheimer’s patients sleep so much?
One of the common characteristics of late-stage dementia is sleeping a lot. A patient may fall asleep for no reason, or they might be constantly tired and ready to nap at any time during the day without warning you about it.
As brain changes become more extensive due to Alzheimer’s, muscles become weak, leading to a domino effect of lethargy. Losing muscle mass and control over reflexes can lead to less activity. Eating habits may also decline. Depression can mount on top of these problems and lead to excessive sleep patterns.
What is sundowning, and can it be avoided?
Sundowning is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. It refers to the increased confusion and agitation many people with Alzheimer’s experience in the late afternoon or evening hours.
Sundowning can make it difficult for caregivers to get their loved ones to bed at night, leading to more sleep problems.
Not a lot is known about why the biological clock seems to reset due to dementia and cause sundowning. However, there are a few things you can do to help manage sundowning:
- Allow for exposure to daylight in the late afternoon
- Encourage short naps earlier in the day
- Provide distracting activities or favorite snacks later in the day
- Reduce noise and create a calming environment
Finding Alzheimer’s Care: Washington Options
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it is essential to get help when you need it. Memory care in Spokane, Washington at North Point Village can provide the support you need to care for your loved one.
Memory care in Washington is available at many assisted living facilities, but North Point Village includes the benefit of the Connections program:
- Individualized care plans
- Activities of daily living assistance
- Personal care and hygiene support
- Dementia-friendly fitness programs
- Health care and medication management
- Enriching activities and social opportunities
- Brain-healthy meals served three times per day
North Point Village is dedicated to providing data-based care for our residents. Our memory care program meets the unique needs of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The monthly cost of memory care is much lower than that of a traditional nursing home. Our dementia care community lets seniors live with honor, purpose, and dignity. We provide social and health services that remove the burden on family members.
Find Alzheimer’s Relief at North Point Village
We understand the challenges that come with caring for a loved one with dementia, and we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our memory care program in Spokane, Washington.