Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Helping Alzheimer’s Patients Sleep

My Dad Has Dementia And Is Moving Into Residential Care Are There Any Care Homes With Dementia Units

Caregiver Training: Sleep Disturbances | UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program

Yes, there are. These residential units will allow your dad to live in a home environment with the benefit of trained staff on hand to help care for him. It may also be worth considering finding a care home in the right location to enable friends and family to visit regularly. This may be more fitting for your dad and ease the transition.

Check For Other Medical Conditions

Both sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are associated with increasing age and have symptoms which will easily wake someone with dementia. To identify if your parent or partner has sleep apnea, you may have to watch them while they sleep. Someone with this condition will pause when they breathe, almost momentarily stopping breathing. This momentary lack of air can wake someone up, and is really quite frightening for the person sleeping next to them as they wait for the next breath.

If your parent/partner suffers from restless leg syndrome they move or twitch their legs uncontrollably, especially during the evenings and night-time. They may also experience tingling, burning and fizzing sensations in their legs too. Symptoms can be relieved by rubbing and stretching legs – but it can be so bad that it wakes the person up. If you discover that your parent/partner has either of these medical conditions, its wise to see a GP and ask for help.

How To Diagnose The Sleep Problems Of A Person With Dementia

Like many problems that affect older adults, sleep problems in dementia are almost always multifactorial, which means that there are usually several underlying issues creating the problem.

Multifactorial problems can be improved, especially if a family and the doctors are diligent about trying to identify as many contributing factors as possible. But youll need to start by helping the doctors understand what kinds of sleep-related symptoms and problems a loved one is experiencing.

Here is a list of questions that a group of geriatrics experts recommends, for evaluating sleep problems.

  • What time do you normally go to bed at night? What time do you normally wake up in the morning?
  • Do you often have trouble falling asleep at night?
  • About how many times do you wake up at night?
  • If you do wake up during the night, do you usually have trouble falling back asleep?
  • Does your bed partner say that you frequently snore, gasp for air or stop breathing?
  • Does your bed partner say you kick or thrash about while asleep?
  • Are you aware that you ever walk, eat, punch, kick, or scream during sleep?
  • Are you sleepy or tired during much of the day?
  • Do you usually take 1 or more naps during the day?
  • Do you usually doze off without planning to during the day?
  • How much sleep do you need to feel alert and function well?
  • Are you currently taking any type of medication or other preparation to help you sleep?
  • Do you have to get up often to urinate during the night?
  • Do you often feel sad or anxious?
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    Stages Of Alzheimers Disease

    Not all people who experience memory loss or cognitive dysfunction already has dementia or Alzheimers. some people may be developing mild cognitive impairment or MCI. We normally associate memory lapses with age, right? Well, in MCI, patients develop memory problems earlier than expected, but these lapses do not interrupt with their normal activities. Some may also experience problems with movement and smell, but these issues do not necessarily account them to have Alzheimers. however, those with MCI may be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimers disease.

    MildAlzheimers disease. This stage may be the most noted stage where patients with Alzheimers get diagnosed. They manifest symptoms that are easily correlated to dementia, so Alzheimers is easily considered. These may include confusion about certain memorable events, increased incidence of wandering or getting lost within a familiar location, difficulty in performing daily tasks and activities like budgeting and running errands, and even having behavioral or personality disorders.

    ModerateAlzheimers disease. At this stage, the early symptoms get worse. As the disease progresses, the patient now has additional difficulty in his sensory function, he now develops hallucinations and language impediments. He forgets or has difficulty recognizing close relatives and friends. They also may have difficulty in caring for themselves like dressing up, eating on their own, and going to the toilet.

    How Does Dementia Affect Sleep

    Study Identifies Link between Sleep Apnea Symptoms and ...

    A person with dementia may have problems with sleeping well or at the right times. Poor sleep may make the symptoms of dementia worse. Find out how dementia affects a person’s sleep.

  • You are here: How does dementia affect sleep?
  • Understanding sleep and night-time disturbance

    A person with dementia experiences physical changes in their brain because of their condition. These changes can affect how much, and how well they sleep.

    A person with dementia may have problems with sleeping at night, and may sleep more during the day. They may find it difficult to get to sleep or they may wake up in the night. The person you care for may not feel well rested when they wake up.

    Over time, if these problems happen often, poor sleep may make the symptoms of dementia worse. You may find this difficult to cope with.

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    How To Diagnose Dementia

    To start helping doctors address your loved one’s dementia-related sleep issues, you need to understand what kinds of symptoms and problems he or she is experiencing.

    Check the following list of questions that a group of geriatrics experts recommends for evaluating sleep problems. An additional 10 questions are contained in the journal article here.

  • What time do you normally go to bed at night? What time do you normally wake up in the morning?
  • Do you often have trouble falling asleep at night?
  • About how many times do you wake up at night?
  • If you do wake up during the night, do you usually have trouble falling back asleep?
  • Does your bed partner say that you frequently snore, gasp for air or stop breathing?
  • Does your bed partner say you kick or thrash about while asleep?
  • Are you aware that you ever walk, eat, punch, kick or scream during sleep?
  • Are you sleepy or tired during much of the day?
  • Do you usually take one or more naps during the day?
  • Do you usually doze off without planning to during the day?
  • How much sleep do you need to feel alert and function well?
  • Are you currently taking any type of medication or other preparation to help you sleep?
  • I always recommend families try to keep a journal related to these questions for at least a week. Some families may also be able to use a sleep tracker or activity tracker to gather useful information.

    Sometimes, additional testing is necessary, such as a sleep breathing study to evaluate sleep apnea.

    Sleep Disturbances In Dementia

    Persons with dementia experience excessive daytime sleepiness associated with fragmented sleep at night. As a result, persons with dementia often take frequent, short duration naps throughout the day to make-up for their lost sleep at night. Additionally, other medically-diagnosed sleep disturbances occur frequently in persons with dementia.

    In persons with dementia who reside in long-term care facilities, the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea has been estimated to be as high as 70% – 80% while estimates of sleep apnea in community-dwelling persons with dementia are unknown. Sleep apnea is defined as irregular breathing at night due to complete or partial closure of the upper airways, accompanied by apneas and hypoxemia . Risk factors for sleep apnea include elevated body mass index, supine sleep position, and increased age. Periodic limb movements of sleep as diagnosed by polysomnography or a sleep study have been found to occur in persons with cognitive impairment and are predictive of reduced total sleep time .

    In older adults with cognitive impairment who reside in nursing home facilities, the presence of pain has been linked to sleep disturbances, as well as to depressive symptoms and to decrements in quality of life . Environmental factors, such as the presence of loud noises and limited exposure to bright light or natural sunlight, have been implicated as being precursors for sleep disturbances in older adults with dementia.

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    Sleep Aids For Dementia Patients

    Sleep inducing medications can cause negative side effects in dementia patients. These include worsened cognition and an increased risk of falling. Therefore, recommended sleep aids for people living with dementia are non-drug based and aim to improve sleep routine and the sleeping environment. You can find a full list of dementia products on our dementia products page.

    What To Do If Alzheimers Patients Sleep A Lot

    Deep sleep could help prevent Alzheimer’s

    This idea of patients sleeping a lot and not performing any activity or physiologic need like eating, drinking, and speaking may alarm both caregivers and relatives. It is understandable to panic or be concerned, especially if you have known these people to have been active most of their lives.

    If the patient sleeps a lot but is easily woken if they need to eat or drink their medications, there is no need to get concerned as of the moment, this is just a normal symptom of their disease and we could expect this to get worse over time. Just try and allow him to follow an everyday routine so he can grow accustomed to what he needs to do at a certain time. You can also a good tip to turn off all the lights at night so the patients brain gets triggered to sleep.

    If the patient chooses to sleep all through the day and this could pose harm to his condition since he would rather snooze than eat or drink, then you must ask his doctor about what steps to take so he does not compromise his health because of his diseases symptom.

    Please visit Sleep Clinic Melbourne today if you experience these issues. Click on the link to visit their site.

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    Dementia And Sleep: Tips For Helping Your Loved One With Dementia Sleep Better

    Dementia and sleep problems often go hand in hand. The connection between dementia and sleep is a common source of stress for family caregivers. When your loved one with Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia doesnt sleep well, you probably dont get enough sleep either.

    Read on to understand the causes of sleep problems in people with dementia and get tips for better sleep.

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    1) Expose the person with dementia to natural sunlight for an hour or two each morning and again in the afternoon, if possible Don’t forget sunglasses, a hat and sun screen. If sunlight is not available, or being outside is not possible, light therapy with a full spectrum light bulb may be helpful. Each of us has a set of rhythms which our body uses to regulate our systems. They are called circadian rhythms, and they help determine our wake/sleep cycles, among other things. Circadian rhythms need natural lighting to function well.

    2) Caregivers should take steps to avoid caffeine and alcohol in the patient’s diet. This is especially true in the late afternoon and evening, as it takes several hours for caffeine — a stimulant — to clear the body. Likewise, after the initial relaxation a person may feel from an alcoholic drink, there is a “bounce back” when the alcohol or caffeine acts as a stimulant, which can disturb sleep.

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    The Deep Cleaning Functions Of Deep Sleep

    During our deepest sleep, the brain and body are hard at work carrying out some major cellular housekeeping, removing toxic products that have built up over the day. When we donât get enough deep sleep, the amount of deep cleaning time is reduced as a consequence.

    Evidence that deep sleep becomes significantly reduced in Alzheimerâs â and knowing that thereâs protein accumulation in the brains of people with the disease â has led to some excellent studies looking at how deep sleep affects these protein levels.

    One particularly interesting study recently shone some light onto this process by using imaging techniques to look at the brains of healthy volunteers as they slept. The researchers found that during deep sleep, our brains are flushed by waves of cerebrospinal fluid . You can see a short video clip of this here.

    These waves appear every 20 seconds during deep sleep and they essentially wash over the brain, cleaning away toxic proteins such as tau and beta-amyloid. 4 So in people experiencing a reduced amount of deep sleep, levels of these cleansing waves would also be reduced.

    Research has shown that sleep disturbance causes both levels of beta-amyloids and tau to rise acutely in the brain and CSF. 56

    In one study, beta-amyloid increased about 5% in the participantsâ brains after losing a single night of sleep.5 The researchers additionally found that changes occured in regions that are known to be affected early in Alzheimerâs.

    Get The Lighting Right

    How Caregivers Can Help Seniors Sleep

    To aid a more restful nights sleep the bedroom should be as comfortable as possible. Using blackout curtains are a good idea during night-time to eliminate outside disturbances. Research suggests that light therapy can reduce restlessness and confusion for people with dementia. Should you wish to consider light therapy, it has been proven that violet coloured light promotes drowsiness and a full-spectrum fluorescent light used for the first two hours of the day can be settling. Light therapy that follows a regular pattern can also help with disturbed body clocks.

    Safety – if night wandering is a problem, or frequent visits to the loo, you will need to consider some sort of low light to prevent your parent falling in the dark. You may want to invest in a motion sensor night light. A motion sensor light automatically turns on when motion is detected within three metres. It then turns off after 30 seconds of no activity. This means that people with dementia can use the bathroom in the night or get out of bed with less risk of falling. The light is gentle and warm in order to not interrupt sleep.

    • Hard to stay awake during the day and taking frequent naps
    • Sundowning, sometimes referred to as late-day confusion.

    Sundowning is a dementia-related disorder where a person becomes increasingly anxious and unsettled in the late afternoons and evenings. Sundowning is more often experienced with mid-stage to advanced dementia.

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    Why Is Sleep Important For Health And Wellbeing

    A person with dementia needs regular sleep to stay well. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Sleeping well helps a person to be in a better mood, think more clearly, and maintain a healthy immune system. It can also help to prevent falls and accidents, and puts the body under less stress.

    The two systems in the body that work together to control sleep are a persons body clock and sleep pressure.

    Why Do Dementia Patients Not Sleep

    Dementia experts arent exactly sure why dementia patients dont sleep well at night. However, there are some potential causes for sleep problems in elderly adults with dementia.

    A good practice is to monitor your loved one and keep a journal to help track different habits and changes.

    Here are some of the top causes of elderly adults with dementia not sleeping at night.

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    Sleep Well And Reduce Your Risk Of Dementia And Death

    In a recent blog post I discussed how beneficial sleep is for memory function. But sleep isnt just good for your memory it can actually reduce your risk of dementia and death. Although it has been known for some time that individuals with dementia frequently have poor, fragmented sleep, two new studies suggest that if you dont get enough sleep, you are at increased risk for dementia.

    Aging And Cognitive Function

    How to improve sleep in dementia

    As it is mentioned, dementia is a common disease among the elderly but just preclinical impairments may be expected decades before certain diagnosis and cognitive decline may not be seen until discussed mechanisms including the accumulation of amyloid and NFT, inflammatory processes, BBB disruption, loss of synapses, and neuron loss have reached a certain threshold .

    Therefore, based on the related mechanisms that can lead insomnia to the development of AD, and with attention to the high prevalence of insomnia and sleep disorders among the elderly age group, it can be assumed that insomnia has possible effects on AD pathogenesis and cognitive deficit in older adults with Alzheimers disease risk.

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    What Happens To Sleep Architecture In Alzheimers Disease

    During healthy sleep, you pass through four sleep stages: N1, N2, N3, and rapid eye movement sleep in what are known as âsleep cyclesâ. Sleep progresses cyclically from N1 through to REM and in adults, each sleep cycle lasts around 90 to 110 minutes.

    REM is the phase of sleep in which most dreaming occurs. Brain activity increases but most muscles are in a state of paralysis, so you donât act out your dreams. The eyes can be seen moving under the eyelids, which is why itâs called rapid eye movement sleep.

    N1, N2 and N3 are termed non-REM sleep and, during these stages, the brain waves on the EEG recording are typically slow, the breathing and heart rate are slow and regular, blood pressure is low and the sleeper is relatively still.

    The first couple of sleep cycles have long periods of uninterrupted stage N3, which is also known as slow wave sleep , with relatively short REM periods. Later in the night, the REM periods lengthen and SWS is mostly absent.

    So the first third of the night is predominantly SWS sleep and the later part of the night is spent in the lighter stages: N2 and REM sleep.

    As we get older, our sleep naturally becomes lighter and more easily disrupted. This is because the amount of deep, stage N3 sleep naturally decreases with age. When youâre in your 20s and 30s about 25%, or about 2-3 hours, of your night is spent in deep sleep.

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