What to do if your loved one wakes during the night
If your loved one wakes during the night and is upset, do your best to stay calm — even though you might be exhausted yourself. Don't argue or demand explanations, and remember that your loved one isn't deliberately trying to annoy you. Instead, ask what your loved one needs. Gently remind your loved one that it's night and time for sleep. If you find your loved one wandering in the house, gently guide him or her back to bed.
Remember that you need sleep, too
Your loved one's sleep is important, but so is yours. If you're not getting enough sleep, you might not have the patience and energy needed to take care of someone who has Alzheimer's.
If possible, have family members or friends alternate nights with you — or talk with your loved one's doctor, a social worker or a representative from a local Alzheimer's association to find out what help is available in your area.
Jan. 15, 2015
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- Deschenes CL, et al. Current treatments for sleep disturbances in individuals with dementia. Current Psychiatry Reports. 2009;11:20.
- Shub D, et al. Non-pharmacologic treatment of insomnia in persons with dementia. Geriatrics. 2009;64:22.
- Mace NL, et al. The 36-Hour Day. 5th ed. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 2011:135.
- Sleeplessness and sundowning. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_sleeplessness_and_sundowning.asp. Accessed Sept. 23, 2014.