Any suggestions for sleeping aids please

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by exhausted 2015, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. exhausted 2015

    exhausted 2015 Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015
    stoke on trent
    Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions to help me with dad's sleeping problems as stated in previous posts my dad does not sleep he will perhaps have an hour between now and 1am but after that he is wandering all night. I have consulted the memory clinic and they are not prepared to prescribe anything given his age (91) also because of the risk of falls they did suggest contacting dad's GP to increase the Zimovane from 3.75mg to 7.50mg which he did do but this was to no avail he's still up around 1am until 7 or 8am given that I cannot get anything on prescription I was wondering if there were any harmless herbal remedies that I could try.. As in need of some sleep thanks again in advance exhausted 2015 xx
  2. Toddleo

    Toddleo Registered User

    Oct 7, 2015
    Oh you poor thing, I am going to watch the replies to this thread with interest. My mum slept in four hourly bursts over a 24 hour period, four hours awake, four asleep, four awake etc.. totally exhausting for us. She has been in hospital and they have said that her pattern has improved somewhat...It will be interesting to test this out once she is discharged!
    Hope you get the help you need. :)
  3. Aitchbee

    Aitchbee Registered User

    Nov 3, 2013
    Some people find that Melatonin helps to restore a more normal sleep pattern (although it didn't work for my Mum). Our Admiral Nurse said it has really helped a couple of people that they visit
  4. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    Two suggestions made elsewhere on threads were to give paracetamol before bed in case there is some underlying pain or discomfort and secondly to give an antihistamine. The latter should be of the type which causes drowsiness not the daytime type of antihistamine.

    If either works let us know.
  5. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Is the Zimovane, to help sleep?
    We had the same problem with FiL, he would fight the sleeping pill, and win!
    Stopped the pill, gave toast and marmalade at bedtime, soon was sleeping right through!

  6. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    I have no experience of this at all but it did cross my mind that as so many dementia patients seem to 'become childish' quite early on (can't think of another way to put it; my dad started putting a cuddly toy on his bed even when his memory problem was hardly detectable) it maybe would work to do the bedtime routine he may have encountered as a child - hot milk, hot water bottle. If yours is anything like mine was, he'll love the sense of being fussed over in any case. If yours is very different, please forgive the suggestion.
  7. Risa

    Risa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2015
    I know it sounds weird but we changed Mum's sheets from cotton ones to some fleecy ones. They are very warm and cosy and once Mum is in bed, she soon drops off and stays asleep. I think shops like TK Maxx or Matalan sell them but I got mine from the QVC shopping channel (they are called Cozee Homes) as you have 30 days to try them out and if no good, send them back for a no-quibble refund (so no money wasted).
  8. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Hi exhausted, There was a time when \I was desperate to find something other than sleeping pills to help mum sleep and stay that way for more than 5 hours. Spoke to local chemist and he suggested Griffonia Seed Extract, so I bought some, but before trying it I spoke to gp and he had never heard of it, advised against it, because of mum's other prescribed medication.

    Conclusion is that we have never tried it, tub of 5-HTP sitting unopened and it was not cheap. might be worth talking to your chemist and then again to gp about anything the chemist may recommend.
  9. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    on bad nights we used Kalms during the day (3x) and then 2 lots of paracetamol, plus a warm bedtime drink of hot choc and a wheat bag and soft toy. did the trick but I can't tell you which bit lol
  10. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    I've never tried it for dementia, but I used to find good old Benylin (not the non-drowsy) a great aid when I was going through periods of sleeping badly. Lovely stuff! Might just be worth a try...
  11. little shettie

    little shettie Registered User

    Nov 10, 2009
    Oh I have the same problem with my mum. I believe this is what they call sundowning? She lives with hubby and I and goes through this non sleep pattern every so often. This last bout has lasted nearly 2 months. She is up and down all night, in and out of her bedroom, sometimes she is quiet as a mouse and we don't hear her much, other times she slams doors shut and talks loudly, depending on her mood!! Hubby works long hours and if he is disturbed then he is shattered all day. She also shuffles everywhere and we can hear this in the quiet of night as we live in a bungalow and have laminate floors. It sounds like shes walking on sandpaper lol! Sounds funny but in the dead of night when you're shattered it isn't! I've bought her soft bottom slippers but we can still hear them. Mums old GP when she lived alone refused to give her sleeping pills due to the risk of falling. When we moved here with mum and she had an appointment with the local mental health team psychiatrist, he offered sleeping pills to me for mum. When I mentioned the risk of falling he said, well yes there could be but, your health is important too and if you don't sleep, it will suffer!! The first health professional to ever consider my needs!!! He said he would write them up and let our new GP know so if we wanted them we could ask but I haven't used them. But with this ever longer pattern of non sleep, I'm getting to the stage of desperation. I may try the antihistamine route first, I've tried warm milky drink, painkillers and hot water bottle and I did buy mum the teddy bear range of fleecy bedding from Dunelm mill, she loves it but it doesn't keep her in the bed when shes like this!!!!

    LOU_JONES Registered User

    Nov 18, 2015
    We have exactly the same problem with my nan!!

    My mum would arrive at my grandparents house at 2pm in the afternoon to cook a hot meal and they would be in bed. Then last week my granddad was taken to hospital, my mum has had to stay with her but she won't sleep!
    We went to the chemist to get night nurse but read the bottle and says don't give to elderly and easily confused so decided it was a bad idea, the local chemist suggested Phenergan - antihistamine which did nothing!
    Then the doctor came who knows the history of diagnosis etc and prescribed sleeping tablets.... my mum gives them to her half an hour before she thinks it's 'bedtime' they make her sleepy but she fights it! She won't sleep in the room with blinds down, has to have curtains open and gets up at all hours calling out, talking to herself and last few nights she has been getting her coat and wanting to go home!
  13. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    Yes the problem is that she knows something is wrong ie grandad is in hospital so she is worried but she can't express it and probably isn't even quite sure why she is worried and this is almost certainly causing her additional agitation. What to do? Such a horrible disease. My guess would be constant reassurance and sleeping pills and paracetamol

    LOU_JONES Registered User

    Nov 18, 2015
    She sometimes thinks he is at work.
    Which we go along with then it gets late and she wonders where he has got to!
    So now she is back to knowing he is in hospital.
    She doesn't remember going to see him and we can't take her everyday as it 'upsets' him.
    Almost like he has given up! Makes me so sad.
    It's so difficult!
    Sleeping pills are the answer now, she fights sleep like she feels weak if she sleeps! Pulls blinds up and curtains so she is woken at light.
    What would paracetamol do? Will that help also?
    So happy to have found this site!!
  15. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Paracetamol is not a sleeping tablet or sedative. However, it can help ease aches and pains that might prevent sleep.
  16. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    What would paracetamol do? Will that help also?

    Some of us have found that paracetamol seems to help to settle people - the theory is that perhaps this is because people have low level pain which they are unable to tell us about - and a couple of paracetamol a couple of times a day seem to help some of the time if people are agitated (undiagnosed pain or discomfort?). It isn't a cure all but some of us have found it helpful
  17. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    I have decided to start giving mum Paracetamol again. Until recently she would complain daily about some pain or other, anywhere in her body from toe upwards. So the last week of having no pain complaints is a little unusual.
  18. exhausted 2015

    exhausted 2015 Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015
    stoke on trent
    Thanks all for your suggestions

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions regarding my dad's sleeping problems.. I have tried many things including changing his cotton sheets for flannelette and warming the bed for an hour before he gets in it.. I've tried ovaltene and biscuits.. Ect but I will try the paracetamol and the antihistamines and some of the other suggestions.. Dad has the Zimovane to help him sleep but they have had no effect at all his gp says that they are only work for a short term.. But with dad we just had the one night, the first night he took it and he slept for four hours.. Will just have to keep trying different things and hopefully will find something that does work... Thanks again everyone much appreciated.. Exhausted 2015 xx
  19. Haylett

    Haylett Registered User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Exhausted 2015 - as other TPers have suggested, would def recommend paracetomol (check with other meds & GP) to dispel aches and pains. We've tried all sorts over the years including a rainbow thing that projected on the ceiling for Mum. That was total pants because it couldn't even project onto the palm of my hand when it was 3" in front! However, a cheapo A**i lava, glitter lamp in soft orange/red has worked recently. I put it on to soothe MIL to help her get off to sleep (it's out of reach because the bottom gets a little hot); then I switch off, and put on again when she wakes up around 2-3 a.m.)

    We've also tried classical music, new age music, whale sounds, sounds of the sea, played very softly and on repeat. Jazz or anything funky is a bad idea because it stimulates rather than soothes even if the person likes it. Music does seem to help a bit which is odd because MIL is as deaf as a doorpost. However, think Beethoven! I wonder if it's something to do with the vibrations.

    MIL "vocalizes". For us, it's the sound of a reversing truck coupled with ululating at a decibels-worth, that would put a foghorn to shame. She doesn't appear to be distressed or in pain; or too hot or too cold. Or needing to go to the bathroom If anything, I would say it is more a call for attention. My Mum found comfort in a soft rabbit - MIL throws them out of her bed.

    So try adding soft light and music into the mix. I'd suggest that the light is diffused and preferably playing across the wall or ceiling but out of eyesight, otherwise it might make matters worse. I'd avoid anything like backlit computers etc if playing music because that light's disruptive to sleep. MIL now has cot sides up so isn't at risk of tripping on wires or knocking over lamps.

    Good luck. You might like to try the Ostrich Pillow to preserve your sanity.
    Just sayin'.
  20. Kipper

    Kipper Registered User

    May 12, 2014
    Sleeping aids

    We had similar problems with my Mother, and an equally reluctant GP. Eventually, we fitted a stairgate on the landing, and only left the bathroom door unlocked for her. we removed all potential hazards ( ornaments, anything on the floor ) and pushed chairs to the wall. If all else failed, we knew she was as safe as we could make her. then, we made her room as appealing (for her ) as we could.Her favourite music ( victorian music hall songs ) playing gently, on repeat play, and a childs night light left on. We would also tuck her in firmly, as a duvet was very easy to slip out from under. We put things we thought she would recognise, by the bed ( a teddy, and a photograph of her parents.) We were advised to give her 2 paracetamol at night, in case there was anything hurting, that may be disturbing her.The music is very important, as the hearing appears to remain acute even after other brain areas seem to no longer function. I guess... that if she didnt know who or where she was, that it was comforting to recognise the music. Even now, and she is in the final stages now, the music calms her, and she is often mouthing the words, or moving a toe to the is exhausting. Good luck.

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