How To Keep Dementia Patients In Bed At Night
Sleep disorders are common in dementia patients. This can be a large source of stress for family caregivers who are left searching for solutions on how to keep dementia patients in bed at night. When your loved one suffering from this disease doesn’t sleep well, you likely don’t get the right amount of sleep either. To understand the causes of dementia sleep disorders, keep reading for tips on how to keep dementia patients in bed at night.
What Are Common Dementia Sleep Disorders?
Sleep problems are not strictly for dementia patients. Older adults also experience them. A lot of seniors go through changes in their sleep. Some may experience changes in the quality of their sleep, how long they sleep, and how long they’re awake during the night. Generally, older adults’ around their middle ages tend to lose 30 minutes of sleep per decade.
Those with dementia commonly experience sleep problems. The cause and stage of your loved one’s dementia can change the severity and type of dementia sleep disorder they experience. Sleep problems that occur with dementia typically become worse as the disease advances.
Below are a few dementia sleep disorders that your loved one may experience:
- Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. This may be caused by insomnia, issues with their sleep cycle, medication side effects, and more.
- Sundown syndrome can contribute to problems with sleep. Sundown syndrome can be characterized by increased confusion, agitation, anxiety, and aggression in the evening or during the night.
- Problems with movement during sleep or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder make people act out their dreams.
- Breathing disorders during sleep affects about 50% of people with Alzheimer’s.
Do Dementia Sleep Disorders Cause Patients To Sleep A Lot During The Day?
Some dementia patients sleep excessively during the day or feel like they can’t stay awake. As a result, they may take longer naps which could interfere with their sleep at night and quality of life.
Daytime sleepiness is common for those with Parkinson’s or Lewy body dementia rather than Alzheimer’s. Other elements that may cause excessive daytime sleepiness are:
- Not getting enough sleep at night
- Medications that cause sedation
- Damage to the brain caused by dementia
- Changes in sleep pattern due to dementia
- Mental health conditions
- Various sleep disorders, like sleep apnea
What Causes Dementia Sleep Disorders?
According to a review of studies on dementia and disturbed sleep, 70% of people with cognitive impairment experience sleep disturbances. Doctors and researchers have not yet discovered why dementia affects sleep. Changes in the brain caused by dementia seem to affect the structure of sleep, which affects how your body regulates the physical, mental, and behavioral changes you’ve experienced in a twenty-four-hour period.
Other elements that could possibly affect sleep in dementia patients are:
- Minimal exposure to sunlight affects the body’s sleep cycle
- Physical or mental exhaustion
- Constant pain
- An environment that doesn’t support good sleep, like a bright room before bedtime
- Side effects from medications
Problems with sleep often have multiple causes for dementia patients. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your loved one’s doctor about the symptoms they are experiencing. The doctor will likely ask various questions about sleep habits, diet, medications, and more to help determine what is causing their dementia sleep disorder.
How To Keep Dementia Patients In Bed At Night - 8 Tips For Dementia Sleep Disorders
Improving sleep is likely a priority if you’re caring for someone with Dementia. Having a good night of sleep can improve the dementia patient’s quality of life, mood, health, and your own. Below are a few steps you can take to help make sure your loved one gets adequate sleep.
Manage pain and other conditions
Managing any pain may help keep dementia paitents in bed at night and improve the patient’s sleep. If a condition like sleep restless legs syndrome is disturbing your loved one’s sleep, seeking medical treatment may help them.
Create a relaxing environment
Make sure the patient’s room is set up to promote good sleep. Some steps you can take are making the room dark, quiet, and cool.
Lookout for side effects from medications
Dementia patients typically take several medications. Some of these medications can interfere with sleep. In some instances, you may be able to switch medications or change the time of day it is taken to help improve sleep.
Encourage physical activity
Help your loved one get exercise each day. For example, take a walk together each morning. It is typically best to schedule physical activity early in the day. If you don’t, the patient may be excessively tired in the evening, which could cause increased agitation.
Get enough sunlight
To help regulate your loved one’s sleep schedule, you should get them outside or into bright lights soon after they wake up. In the evening, dim lights should be used when close to bedtime.
Create a sleep schedule
Creating a calming routine before bed may also help in addition to having your loved one go to bed at the same time every evening. A good, calming bedtime routine should include dimming the lights and playing soothing music before bedtime.
Minimize daytime naps
If your loved one sleeps excessively during the day, they will likely experience poor sleep at night.
Stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine may disrupt your loved one’s sleep.
Should I Use Medications Or Sleep Aids Like Melatonin To Keep A Dementia Patient In Bed At Night?
Occasionally, a doctor may give your loved one a medication to help with the dementia sleep disorder they are experiencing. However, it’s important to note that older adults who experience cognitive impairment typically experience side effects from sleep-aid medications. Hence, they aren’t generally recommended as a long-term sleep aid.
Studies have shown that melatonin may improve sleep in people who are in the early stages of dementia. Melatonin can also help reduce the agitation and confusion that dementia patients typically experience later in the day. As always, you should consult your loved one’s doctor before starting any sleep-aid supplements.
How Do You Cope With Dementia Sleep Disorders?
If environmental and lifestyle changes don’t help, you may be wondering how to keep dementia patients in bed at night.
Dementia sleep disorders and other dementia-related symptoms get worse as dementia progresses. As your loved one’s dementia progresses, you should evaluate and decide if you need additional support to make sure you and your loved one are healthy and safe. Understanding what each stage of dementia is like can help you plan for adequate care.
While caring for a dementia patient with sleep problems, here are a few things you should know:
- Avoid using physical restraints. To prevent wandering, some people believe it’s best to restrain their loved ones in bed at night. Doing this may cause more harm than good. Instead, raise the guard rails in your loved one’s bed if possible. This helps to deter them from climbing out of bed and wandering.
- Don’t try to care for your loved one alone. Talk with other family members and see if you can take shifts. If no one is available to help, consider respite care. Respite care, also known as short-term care, allows you to take a break from caring for your loved one while providing a safe environment.
- Reduce stimulation. Avoid loud noises or a lot of activity during the evening and night in order to create a calming environment.
- Prioritize your health and wellbeing. Caring for a loved one with dementia and sleep disorders can take a toll on your own mental health. Consider getting help from family members or exploring other care options. For example, memory care provides around-the-clock specialized care for people who experience memory loss.
Legal And Financial Planning For Dementia
It is common for dementia patients to require nursing home care as the disease progresses.
Unfortunately, the cost of nursing home care is incredibly expensive.
In Michigan, the average cost of a nursing home is between $8,000-$9,000 per month. Many families worry about spending their entire life savings and losing the family home just to pay for nursing home costs.
Fortunately, you can protect your savings and home from nursing home costs by qualifying for nursing home benefits to pay for care.
To find out how, please read this article…
If you already know that you want nursing home benefits to pay for care, please call our office at (248) 613-0007 to schedule a free initial case evaluation to find out if we can help you qualify.