When a loved one wakes during the night
If your loved one wakes during the night, stay calm — even though you might be exhausted yourself. Don't argue. Instead, ask what your loved one needs. Gently remind him or her that it's night and time for sleep. If your loved one needs to pace, don't try to restrain him or her. Instead, allow it under your supervision.
Using sleep medications
If nondrug approaches aren't working, your loved one's doctor might recommend sleep-inducing medications. However, using these kinds of medications can increase the risk of falls, fractures and confusion. Once a regular sleep pattern is established, the doctor will likely recommend attempting to discontinue use of the medications.
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. Your loved one might also sense your stress and become agitated.
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.
Nov. 15, 2017
See more In-depth
- Sleeplessness and sundowning. Alzheimer's Association. https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-sleep-issues-sundowning.asp. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.
- Treatments for sleep changes. Alzheimer's Association. https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-sleep-issues-sundowning.asp. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.
- 6 tips for managing sleep problems . National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/6-tips-managing-sleep-problems-alzheimers. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.