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CAREGIVING CHRONICLES

Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

Alzheimer’s disease impacts virtually every aspect of life for both the person with dementia and the caregiver. One especially difficult area that Alzheimer’s frequently affects is the ability to sleep through the night.

The National Institute on Aging notes that for the person with Alzheimer’s, it may be hard to get the person to go to bed and stay there. Someone with Alzheimer’s may sleep a lot or not enough, and may wake up many times during the night.

The NIA has provided some tips that may help caregivers manage sleep problems in people with Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Help the person get exercise each day, limit naps, and make sure the person gets enough rest at night. Being overly tired can increase late-afternoon and nighttime restlessness.
2. Plan activities that use more energy early in the day. For example, try bathing in the morning or having the largest family meal in the middle of the day.
3. Set a quiet, peaceful mood in the evening to help the person relax. Keep the lights low, try to reduce the noise levels, and play soothing music if he or she enjoys it.
4. Try to have the person go to bed at the same time each night. A bedtime routine, such as reading out loud, also may help.
5. Limit caffeine.
6. Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom.

The National Institute on Aging features a wide range of information on Alzheimer’s disease, as well as more information about sleep issues for older adults.

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