How To Help Someone With Dementia Sleep In 2023

how to help someone with dementia sleep
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What is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, but the condition is not a normal part of aging. Dementia can also cause a person to experience changes in behavior, personality, and cognitive skills. Sleep disturbances are common among people living with dementia and can be a major source of distress for both the patient and their caregiver.

Why Does Dementia Cause Sleeping Problems?

Dementia can cause disruptions to a person’s sleep-wake cycle, resulting in insomnia, increased fatigue during the day, or a combination of both. People living with dementia may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feel excessively sleepy during the day. This is due to changes in the brain caused by the condition, which can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, dementia can cause a person to experience confusion, agitation, anxiety, or depression, which can further disrupt their sleep.

What Can Caregivers Do to Help?

If you’re a caregiver for someone living with dementia, there are several steps you can take to help them get a good night’s sleep. First, create a comfortable sleeping environment by keeping the room at a comfortable temperature and eliminating noise and light. If possible, make sure the person is sleeping in their own bed. If not, provide them with a comfortable mattress and pillows. Additionally, create a calming nighttime routine that includes turning off the TV and other electronics, dimming the lights, and avoiding stimulating activities.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Help the person establish a regular bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities such as listening to soothing music, reading, or taking a bath. Avoid activities that could be stimulating, such as intense conversations or vigorous exercise. Additionally, establish a regular bedtime and wake time to help the person’s body adjust to a consistent sleep-wake cycle. If the person experiences insomnia, avoid napping during the day. Instead, encourage them to take short walks or do light stretching to help them relax.

Keep a Sleep Journal

A sleep journal can be a helpful tool for caregivers to observe patterns in the person’s sleep. Take note of what they ate and drank before bed, their bedtime routine, and any activities they engaged in during the day. This can help you determine what may be causing the person’s sleep disturbances and make changes accordingly. It can also be helpful to speak with the person’s doctor or a sleep specialist to discuss potential treatments such as medication or lifestyle modifications.

Try Natural Remedies

In addition to more conventional treatments, natural remedies such as aromatherapy, massage, and herbal teas can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Certain essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, and bergamot have a calming effect and can be used in a diffuser for aromatherapy. Massage therapy can also help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Herbal teas such as chamomile, passion flower, and valerian root can help to improve sleep quality.


Living with dementia can be difficult, but there are ways to help the person get a good night’s sleep. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine, keeping a sleep journal, and trying natural remedies can all help to reduce sleep disturbances and promote better sleep quality. Additionally, speaking with the person’s doctor can help to determine the best course of action to improve their sleep.

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