sleep Tips To Help Dementia Patients Sleep Better Techniques that can be used to improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep which is essential to managing dementia symptoms. February 03, 2014 Written By: Dementia.org Published On February 03, 2014 Sleep problems and sleep disorders are common among dementia patients. Poor sleep only makes problem solving, aggression and the ability to recall memory much more difficult. The Better Health Channel has suggested that brain damage affects the biological clock so that a patient's body may not be telling them when it's time to be awake or asleep. Please Read This: How Dementia Affects Sleep Cycles Dementia patients may act out their dreams, wake easily or nap during the day. Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and taking steps to get a good night's sleep will help in managing dementia symptoms. Establish a routine Alertness levels can vary, so some patients may fall asleep during the day, making them restless at night. Keeping patients busy with an active routine can help prevent daytime napping. Do difficult tasks in the morning or early afternoon, as upsetting them late in the day may make them confused and agitated at bedtime. Around bedtime, wind down with calm activities. Get plenty of exercise and activity Getting exercise during the day is a great way to tire out patients by bedtime. Regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and deepens your sleep, according to Mayo Clinic. More sleep means more energy for meaningful activities during the day. Try massage therapy Massage offers a drug-free way to reduce agitation and depression, both of which disrupt sleep. Massage relaxes tense muscles and alleviates leg cramps or pains. Create an ideal sleep environment A quiet, dark bedroom helps promote sleep. Bright, blinking lights from digital clocks, TVs, computers and other electronics can confuse and disrupt sleep among dementia patients, so reduce these light sources. Avoid stimulating colors, images and sounds in the bedroom Their room shouldn't contain any bright colors, patterns or bright lights, as these may stimulate hallucinations in patients who suffer from them. Avoid thriller movies or shows with violence or action. Remove hallway mirrors that could cause confusion when patients walk past their own reflection. Set up guardrails Since dementia patients may act out their dreams or fall out of bed, the National Institute of Health recommends not restraining patients while they sleep. High guardrails can prevent patients from falling out of bed. Regulate light exposure Getting natural light exposure during the day helps prepare the body for sleep, so take some of your activities outside, and open the curtains in the morning. At night, create a safe environment for any late-night wandering. Keeping house lighting low with nightlights to help prevent the patient from getting disoriented when they wake to use the bathroom. Make sure the light isn't too low and creating shadows – they could confuse patients. Consider a sleep aid Sleep aids such as melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone, can promote sleep. Talk with your doctor before starting any sleep medications. Some could interact with other dementia medications or make symptoms worse. Limit caffeine and alcohol Any coffee or cola should be consumed earlier in the day, so these stimulants don't keep patients wired at night. Alcohol can disrupts the sequence and duration of sleep states, alters total sleep time and the time it takes to fall asleep, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol or caffeine could also counteract the effectiveness of sleep meds, as well as cause unwanted interactions. Have a light snack before bedtime Hunger pains keep people awake at night, so patients should go to bed feeling satisfied. Look for foods known for promoting sleep; poultry, nuts, honey and oats contain tryptophan and help the body create niacin and serotonin, the hormones needed for restful sleep. A small bowl of cereal with milk, a cup of oatmeal with sliced banana or a piece of toast with cheese or peanut butter are all good options for curbing nighttime hunger.0616 Recommended Articles sleep How Dementia Affects Sleep Cycles Most Searched Types Alzheimer's Huntington's Disease Parkinson's Disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Early-Onset Dementia Tags: sleep treatments caregiver Learn More: Dementia From Oxygen Deprivation The Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) Early-Onset Dementia End Stage Of Dementia Dementia: 9 Tips For Successful Air Travel Dementia Grief – What Makes It Unique?