Getting a good night’s sleep

Some practical tips to help both the person with dementia and you to get a good night’s sleep.

Practical tips for a good night's sleep

  • Make sure the person with dementia is genuinely tired by the evening so they will naturally sleep. Avoid too many daytime naps (often these are out of boredom rather than a genuine need for sleep). Exercise also helps make someone tired.
  • Mid to late afternoon a person with dementia may show signs or irritability and restlessness. This is thought to be associated with light changes and tiredness. This is commonly referred to as Sundowning. A person with dementia may benefit from a short nap in the afternoon.
  • Make sure they have been to the toilet just before getting into bed.
  • Keep to their regular bedtime routine or start one if they don’t have one. Perhaps a milky drink, warm bath, putting on the radio for quiet music.
  • Put away all distracting ‘daytime’ things - clothes, newspapers, books etc.
  • Make sure the room is dark but perhaps with a night-light for reassurance or to help them find the way to the toilet.
  • An alarm pressure pad under the mattress can alert you if the person gets up. If the person moves around a lot whilst in bed, try a pressure pad on the floor next to the bed or an infra-red movement detector to alert you if the person gets up. This can be connected to a buzzer in your pocket or under your pillow.
  • If you share a room with the person with dementia do they still recognise you as someone they share a room with? If so you may need to consider changing where you sleep. This can benefit both of you.

For more information:

There is more information on dementia and sleeping on the National Sleep Foundation website.

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