Friday, October 8, 2010

When It's Twilight Time

One of the biggest concerns (and physical drains) of caregiving is sleep. Much like newborns and infants, elderly dementia patients can wake frequently in the middle of the night and prevent everyone in the house from getting a good night's sleep. This places a huge burden on their caregivers, who must also remain awake for their safety. Over time, the lack of sufficient sleep can greatly impact a caregiver's health.

There are ways to help simulate the natural environment that prompts someone to slumber. We've already mentioned in an earlier blog post that you should limit caffeine intake and make sure the person doesn't doze on and off during the day (at least for long stretches). Staying physically and mentally alert is key.

But when night falls, there are things you can do in your home to signal it's twilight time. Here are some suggestions from

To create better sleep, a home needs to recreate natural twilight. To do this, the indoor lights need to be turned down or off at least a half hour to an hour before sleep. Cover windows so that ambient light from the street will not filter in. The darker your bedroom, the better. Filtering noise is also important. Do not watch television for an hour before bed. Any light will stimulate the pineal gland and upset the sleep rhythms. It is also advised to go to sleep at the same time each night, or within one hour of the same time, year round.

The more that a home is in synch with the natural levels of light outside, the better the conditions for sleep become. Stimulating an indoor twilight will help provide better sleep, preventing insomnia and other sleep disturbances.