Steps to Healthy Sleep

Leah Health Guide
  • Sleep…ahhh, sweet, sweet sleep…  In my last blog, I wrote about the benefits of  sleep.  Since then, I have managed a couple of good nights mixed in with some “all nighters”.  Today I will be meeting with my neurologist, and I will tell him of my sleep difficulties.  In the meantime, I have been following a list of sleep tips for the elderly which can be useful for those with dementia, too.  Most of the tips will probably not be new to you, but it never hurts to refresh one’s memory:


    • Keep to a regular schedule.  Try to go to bed and awaken in the morning at the same time.
    • Become engaged or continue being engaged in social activities. It is so very important that one be actively engaged with their community.
    • Take naps if necessary, just not too close to bedtime.
    • Let the sun shine in!  Or out!  Get into the sunlight for at least two hours a day; it will increase your metabolism.
    • Block out the snoring of your partner and any other peripheral noises.
    • Match your bedtime to when you FEEL like going to bed.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Develop bedtime rituals such as taking a bath/shower, play music, read.
    • Limit your use of sleep aids and sleeping pills.  These are meant only to temporary help.
    • Limit your alcohol intake.  Alcohol tends to help you get to sleep but you don’t remain asleep.
    • Limit your intake of caffeine, stopping intake as early as the late afternoon.  This includes tea, as well as coffee.
    • NOW THIS ONE I QUESTION:  Combine sex and sleep.  For SOME people, physical intimacy such as hugging and massage can lead to restful sleep.  For other people, though, sex tends to wake one up…I have a “friend” who told me about this…


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    I know there are many other suggestions to be made.  One that I suggest involves aromatherapy.  Bath and Body Works has a lotion called SLEEP.  It uses Lavender Essential Oil to soothe and calm you and Chamomile Essential Oil to lull you into sleep.  SLEEP body lotion has a light, pleasant smell and does help to calm me.  Unfortunately, I forget to put it into my regular nighttime routine.  Another suggestion I have is to PRAY…I find that often I will begin talking to God as I lay in bed…and wake up the next morning to say “AMEN”. 


    Achieving a refreshing night of sleep can be difficult for those with some form of dementia.  Using the tips above may be beneficial.  However, do not hesitate to tell the doctor of the problem.  He/she may have other helpful suggestions.


    Sleep…ahhh, sweet, sweet sleep…Who needs it?  Everyone!  If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to comment!

Published On: June 11, 2009