Sleeplessness or insomnia can be a common Alzheimer’s issue, though not everyone experiences it. If your loved one does, here are some helpful tips:
- Keep your physician informed so he or she can intervene, if needed (this might be a condition you monitor for a while)
- Ask the doctor about medications that might be interfering with sleep
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
- Discourage naps during the day
- Plan relaxing, soothing activities for close to bedtime (play calming music, for example). This could involve having a light snack.
- Make sure your loved one goes to the bathroom before bedtime
- Keep to a routine at bedtime, yet, as always, you have to remain flexible
- Use a favorite pillow or blanket to help relaxation efforts
- Do bathing or any other activity that could be upsetting earlier in the day: Steer clear of anything that could create tension or be upsetting near bedtime
- Don’t make bedtime too early
- Keep the person as active as possible during the day. Walking, working in the yard, dancing or any other activity he or she likes to do can be helpful.
- Ensure comfortable clothing and temperature are in play at bedtime. If putting on sleepwear agitates your spouse, let it go and let her or him sleep in regular clothes.
- If your loved one falls asleep on the couch, let her or him stay and sleep there.
- Use night lights liberally in the bedroom, hallways and bathrooms.
Dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s is a daunting task. There’s no need to tackle it alone, however. An excellent resource is “The Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.” It can be downloaded at no cost by clicking here.