Nearly 6 million people today live with Alzheimer’s. Today it is the sixth cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer’s affects memory, cognition, information processing, and much more.
A major recorded problem seen in many Alzheimer patients is the difficulty in getting sleep. The changes in brain structure and rapid decline in its function has some severe implications on a person’s rest. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s make getting sleep for these patients very difficult.
There are frequent complaints of disturbed sleep and waking up several times during the night. It’s well known that rest is a prerequisite for good health. A good sleep cycle can help in slowing down the progression of diseases. It can even prevent many chronic illnesses that are markers of Alzheimer’s. It’s crucial to find out ways to deal with sleep problems better to manage the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Here are a few tips to get better sleep for people with Alzheimer’s.
Establish a routine
A well-established routine is vital for getting a good night’s sleep — a set routine and a fixed bedtime help in fixing the circadian rhythm. The circadian cycle can ensure you fall asleep and wake at the same time. This prevents restless nights and ensures you are well rested the next morning. The day should be divided well to end the night in a relaxed way.
A good exercise routine can be beneficial to the body. Likewise, a simple walk can have extended-lasting benefits on your body. A racing heart and light movements can be useful for your body in the long term. It helps in relaxing and prevents symptoms like anger, anxiety, and much more that they often face. Getting a 30-minute physical exercise is vital for the maintenance of good health.
Fix the lightings and make a comfortable ambiance
A relaxing environment that is conducive to sleep is severely important. Create a pleasant atmosphere around your bed so that it helps you in naturally falling asleep. Having soft lightings in the room that don’t cause melanin production by preventing you from sleeping is essential.
Also, it’s vital to stay away from blue light devices to avoid any disturbance in a maintained sleep cycle. It is also necessary to get a comfortable mattress, dark blinds, and noise proof rooms for falling asleep quickly. A calm, serene ambiance in the room can go a long way in providing a good night’s sleep.
Avoid caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant and can interfere with a person’s normal sleep cycle. It is also a diuretic and causes water excretion from the body. It can also lead to dehydration. Avoiding caffeine 6-8 hours before sleep time can prevent a good night’s sleep by keeping you awake.
Avoiding long naps in the afternoon
An important step to fix disturbed sleep cycles is avoiding long afternoon naps. It’s necessary for people with Alzheimer’s to be tired and relaxed during the night. An afternoon nap can prevent sleeping, and the person may stay awake during the wee hours of the night.
Manage medications well
A common cause of disturbed sleep patterns can also be attributed to the medicines being taken. It’s essential to manage the medications well. Many antidepressants can cause insomnia. Having a detailed discussion with the medical practitioner and setting a correct medication time can be very beneficial in the long run.
Daily sunlight exposure
Having daily sunlight exposure during the day has been shown to reduce sleep disturbances in Alzheimer patients. Emphasis on at least 20 minutes of sunlight exposure should be done. It helps in day and night reversal problems.
Thus, sleep problems in Alzheimer’s can be managed with proper routine strategies, a good diet, exercise, and medication management.