May 4, 2009 -- Question: How do I get my loved on with Alzheimer's disease to sleep better?
Answer: Well, like many things, in dealing with somebody that has some memory challenges, routine is important. And here, with regards to sleep, we call it sleep hygiene. And sleep hygiene basically is a way of looking at the process of getting ready for bed and going to bed. It's a regular series of habits and it includes things like avoiding fluids, unnecessarily, so that one doesn't rise from sleep need to go to the bathroom.
It's avoiding caffeinated beverages, it's whatever makes that person feel comfortable and signals that the time is ready for a sleep-time activity rather than daytime activities. Also, some people enjoy a short nap in the daytime, but it's very important not to get people out of regular sleep cycles. So, if somebody sleeps in the daytime, obviously they're not going to need as much sleep at night.
So, regular habits, focusing on the sleeping process as something that is separate from daytime activities, is the key to getting, helping someone to sleep better.