Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, and symptoms include a progressive, irreversible loss of memory, thinking, reasoning, and other brain functions. As the disease progresses to later stages, affected individuals eventually become unable to care for themselves independently and require caregiver support, either at home or at a long-term care facility.
Alzheimer’s causes sleeping problems that can be disruptive both for the affected patient and for caregivers. People with Alzheimer’s experience sleep disturbances, including shorter or more fragmented sleep, changes to the biological clock and sleep cycle, and certain sleep disorders. Making changes to a patient’s daily schedule and evening habits may improve these sleep issues.
Here are few ways in which people can Alzheimer’s can improve their sleep :
- Reduce Your Light Exposure – Light of any kind can interfere with the production of the “sleep chemical” melatonin. Especially harmful is the blue light emitted from electric devices. Avoid electronics one hour before bed and use dim lighting.
- Eliminate Background Chatter or Add White Noise – Quiet promotes rest. But if it’s “too quiet”, you may be awakened at small noises. Consider sleeping with a fan on or purchasing a white – noise machine to help you relax and remove background noise while you sleep.
- Work Out – Exercise has been repeatedly shown to positively correlate with improve sleep, but should be completed no more than a few hours before bedtime. Use a fitness tracker to help monitor your activity. As a bonus, many monitor your sleep at night, and can help you adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.
- Avoid These – Caffeine in soda and coffee, as well as stimulants such as nicotine, are obviously counterproductive to sleep. Other substances, like alcohol, might give the impression of being relaxation aids, but actually interrupt healthy body rhythms and can impede sleep.
- Herbal Tea – Herbal tea (non – caffinated of course) can have a great calming effect. Many specifics herbs are recommended for insomnia by the German equivalent of the FDA, and many more are reputed in folk medicine to encourage sleep and promote health. Additionally, numerous essential oils like ylang-ylang, lavender, valerian and sandalwood are readily available and used in aromatherapy for relaxation. They can be diffused or used in sachets under your pillow.
- Find Supplements That Work for You – The hormone Melatonin, made by the body naturally under low light conditions, is a popular nightmare sleep aid and has become fairly widely used. A daily vitamin can also be important. Other supplements often used to promote sleep include select amino acids like L-tryptophan, 5-HTP, GABA, glycine and more.