Also the medical disease Alzheimer and thus dementia have a connection with sleeping problems among patients, which if understood can help deal with the circumstances.
Dementia is a broader term which refers to negative impact on brain functioning, owing to various ailments like Parkinson’s diseases, Pick’s disease, etc. Reduced thinking abilities, affected language, memory loss, diminished judgment abilities or behavioral defects are visible in a person suffering from dementia. Mostly, it is a non reversible illness.
Alzheimer is a type of dementia, in fact it is the most common variant and thus the strong connect. Thinking abilities, memory and behavioral patterns are affected. Memory impairment is importantly indicative of the disease. The risk of Alzheimer increases with age though this is not a usual stage of aging process.
Sleeping Issues / Disorder
Many adults, as they age, tend to face difficulties getting a good night sleep. There is often restlessness, followed by prolonged drowsiness during the day hours. To an extent, this is normal. As we grow our sleeping habits tend to change; we no longer sleep like a baby. The hours of deep sleep get reduced. However, when we say sleeping disorders, it is about sleeping problems beyond normality.
Those troubled with sleeping issues find it difficult to concentrate even while spending leisure time, say watching television. These people react slowly because information processing takes longer time. Drinking habits include more of caffeinated beverages. A one off day with drowsy feel is not indicative of serious sleep disorder; however, repeated occasions of such experiences are certainly pinpointing.
Sleep Problems And Dementia, Specifically Alzheimer
Alzheimer’s i.e. a form of dementia affects the patient’s brain and thus prevents him/her from getting plentiful sleep during the night hours. Studies have established brain wave connection with the illness and thus reduced sleep.
The patients typically get irritated during late hours or early evenings. The irritation often results in mood outbursts. During the day hours, owing to lack of sleep and impact of medication, the patient is often seen napping. The behavior is known as ‘sundowning’. The problem worsens with time.
A patient suffering from Alzheimer type dementia cannot be medicated as often and thus the sleep disorder cannot be successfully treated with help of medicines. An overdose in this case might pose serious repercussions.
Thus the treatment remedies have to shift focus from medicinal to non medicinal strategies. Few steps to deal with sleeping problems on account of Alzheimer are:
• Engage the patient during day time in various activities of interest. Adult day care centers can provide the needed respite. Going out for a walk or indulging in light games is also an option. The change will mean less sleep during the day and thus increased possibility of sleeping during the night hours.
• When the patient is sleeping, make sure there are absolutely no wake-up triggers. The person in this case is not in a deep sleep and thus even minor instances like the telephone ring could disturb.
• Try yoga, it would help calm the mind and body.