Dementia and Excessive Sleepiness

Excessive daytime sleepiness can be a problem for many folks, especially the senior population. This condition is often related to inadequate or fragmented night-time sleep and can be a resulting condition of a number of other related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and a number of other dementias.

Here are some non-drug treatments tips to help your loved one stay active throughout the day so they and you get a full sleep at night, hopefully without interruption:
• Participate in activities that may be helpful in providing stimulation to prevent daytime dozing.
• Get physical exercise appropriate to your level of functioning, which may also promote daytime wakefulness.
• Avoid sedentary activities during the day.
• Establish good sleep hygiene, including a set bedtime and wake-up time.

Of course, treating the issues preventing adequate nighttime sleep will go a long way toward alleviating the issue of excessive daytime sleepiness. In addition to and parallel to that treatment, the tips listed above may help mitigate the issue, even if there is also a pharmacological element involved as medicine prescribed for other conditions may contribute to sleep disruption issues.

In addition to the non-drug treatment tips offered by the National Parkinson Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association also suggests other ways to improve sleep routines such as discouraging intake of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants in the hours before bedtime and limiting television viewing during periods of wakefulness during regular sleeping hours.

Daytime napping and “sundowning” can be serious issues for those with dementia. As sleep and the quality of rest obtained can have a large impact on both physical health and quality of life, sleep issues can have a large impact on every aspect of an individual’s life.

In addition to careful consultation with your doctor concerning sleep disruptions and other medical issues and drug interactions, there are a number of non-medicinal approaches to improving sleep habits and minimizing sleep disrupting conditions. Among the recommendations of many sources offering suggestions for better sleep habits is the discouragement of daytime napping and the encouragement of participating in more activities during the day.

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