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Dementia

  • If you stay physically active during the day, you are more likely to sleep well at night. Everyone needs physical activity to keep their body healthy. Physical activity relieves stress and helps the body perform its functions. When we feel tired through doing activities, we are more likely to relax

  • Many carers experience some sort of stress and are at risk of burnout. They can sometimes feel overwhelmed and in a downwards spiral with the pressures of caring for their loved ones. Caregiver stress can result from:

    • constant worry
    • increased responsibilities
    • declining carer health e.g. high
  • Some conditions affect sleep quality in people with dementia including:

    • sleep apnea
    • arthritis
    • restless leg syndrome 
    • depression

    For more information refer to the dementia and sleep factsheet.

  • Making some changes to your home can help a person living with dementia. Consider what tips may work for your household as each person experiences dementia differently.
    These suggestions are especially important if your loved one is anxious, fearful, in pain or having hallucinations.

    • As much as
  • Getting a good night's sleep maybe a big problem both for the person with dementia and their carers. Here we present a range of information to better understand sleep and dementia. This may help you improve sleep patterns and hence quality of life.

  • Brain storm ideas on how to improve your loved one’s sleep environment. Rank these ideas and trial the first two. Write in a diary to keep track of what works for you.

    What Causes Wandering?

    If your loved one is wandering at night consider what might be causing it.

    • Maybe they are having
  • Daily physical activity is important for both carers and people living with dementia. It reduces stress, enhances sleep and improves the quality of your life.

  • Like everyone, people with dementia have good days and bad days. Some days our ability to do things, remember people and communicate our needs is better than on other days. On difficult days, carers and loved ones need to be flexible and try different things to see what is going to work. Establish

  • Encouraging your loved one with dementia to get some light during the day will be important in helping them to sleep better at night. Being outside in the sunshine or sitting by a sunny window or in a well-lit room helps us feel more awake for longer during the day. This improves our night time

  • If your loved one doesn’t sleep well at night, they may need to take a nap during the day. While napping can help you feel more awake, it can also disrupt nighttime sleep. If they do take a nap, keep it short (about 15-20 minutes) and in the early afternoon. While they are napping, consider

    • What did the person like doing before the onset of dementia?
    • Did they enjoy walking, doing the gardening or playing bowls?
    • It’s important to know their lifestyle before dementia so you can encourage them to do activities that they are familiar with and enjoy.

    Activities that are meaningful

  • Sleep problems are some of the most difficult symptoms of dementia. Disruption to your sleep can be emotionally and physically demanding. Professionals recommend the following tips for a better night's sleep:

    • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine – consider a bath, a cup of warm milk, putting
  • A healthy daily routine will help with sleeping well at night. Try to keep routines familiar.

    • If your loved one has always gone to bed late and woken up late, this might be the most natural rhythm for them.
    • If they ate their main meal at lunch before developing dementia, this may be how they
  • Keeping meals, activities and naps at the same time everyday will help reduce confusion and help with sleep at night.

  • Dementia affects everyone differently and varies in progression. Different brain functions affected may include:

    • change to memory e.g. forgets familiar places
    • language e.g. refers back to first language
    • communication e.g. unable to communicate specific needs
    • recognition e.g. difficulty
  • People with dementia can wander at night for lots of different reasons. One reason may be that they have extra energy that wasn’t used up during the day. Having a daily routine that includes physical activity may reduce night wandering.

    Make sure the activities are suitable for the person with

  • Consider how living with a person with dementia has affected your sleep. 

    What other forms of relaxation could you use?

  • As a carer you might notice the person with dementia doing the following:

    • wandering
    • yelling or calling out
    • acting confused
    • tossing and turning in bed

     Various changes in behaviour and routines and changes to the home can help with sleep.

  • Your loved one may feel sleepy during the day, have difficulty sleeping through the night or not know when it is time to sleep.

    They may have less deep, restful sleep and more lighter sleep. Sundowning can occur because of changes to their sleep/wake cycle. They may become restless

  • There are three stages of dementia that a person with dementia will go through; mild, moderate and severe. Each phase of dementia will have different experiences and barriers to tackle. With the help of family members and friends the progression of dementia may be less of a shock.

    During all three