Sleeping Pattern Disruptions with Alzheimer Disease

by : mikeherman1

Alzheimer's disease can disrupt a patient so much that they end up reversing their sleeping pattern completely and wanting to sleep all day and be awake and active all night.

Although this may not be a problem for the patient their family and care givers may rapidly become drained and exhausted.

People often assume that as we get older, we need less sleep which may be true for some people but the opposite is true for others as everyone establishes the sleep pattern that suits them.

While the sleep needs of an Alzheimer's disease sufferer may not change their sleep patterns can reverse making them noisy and disruptive by moving around the house during the night as if it is the daytime.

Although it may be very tempting to use medication to help the Alzheimer's disease sufferer sleep at night, and indeed it may become necessary, it can create a vicious circle as sedatives can exacerbate their confused mental state and so make the person even more difficult to cope with.

It may also be tempting to let them sleep for long periods during the day to give the carer some respite to do chores, or even take a nap themselves.

However, it's much more appropriate to keep the Alzheimer's sufferer gently active during the day as this is a good way of helping them to re-establish a sleeping pattern where they settle again at night.

You should also make sure that other factors such as incontinence, night cramps or joint pain aren't causing the restless nights.

Sometimes a couple of light pain killers just before bedtime can alleviate some of these problems and give everyone a restful night.

Perhaps the patient would enjoy a small glass of their favourite tipple or a warm drink, although care must be taken that urinary incontinence doesn't then become a problem.

Night sitting services are available if a solution to a patient's night activity can't be found.

These can be very useful as the Alzheimer sufferer is able to wander about normally safe under close supervision while the carer has an undisturbed night's sleep.

Even if a service like this can only be used for one or two nights a week, at least the carer is getting some quality sleep.