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​​​​​​​​​You may notice that your loved one’s sleep pat​terns change as their dementia gets worse. Their sleep patterns may totally reverse so they sleep all day and are awake all night. Sleep medicines may help, but taking these medicines can lead to falls and even more confusion.

A person’s surroundings have a big impact on their sense of day and night. The following strategies may help keep your loved one awake during the day and help them sleep at night.

During the day:

  • open curtains and blinds
  • go outside
  • make their bed and put night clothes away
  • have a day time routine such as eating breakfast and doing chores

During the evening and night:

  • close curtains and blinds
  • use softer lighting or dim the lights
  • put day clothes away
  • have a bedtime routine such as taking a bath, playing soft music, or doing quiet activities

If your loved one wakes up at night:

  • don’t put on the TV or do activities that take a lot of energy or thought
  • try reading, chatting with them, or listening to soft music


Current as of: June 21, 2019

Author: Seniors Health Strategic Clinical Network™ (SCN), Alberta Health Services