• Expert Q&A: Rare dementias - Tues 3 March, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of rare dementias. It will be hosted by Nikki and Seb from Rare Dementia Support. If you have any questions about rare dementias, they will be here to answer them on Tuesday 3 March between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

Oh for a nights sleep.

wightdancer

Registered User
Mar 15, 2017
61
Hi folks
It's 2.20am and my wife is still full of beans walking around muttering and picking up anything that is not nailed down and trying to open doors repeatedly and noisily. This late night wandering is a fairly new phenomena but can go on until 4 or 5am. She seems to need less and less sleep and simply refuses to take pills that might help her sleep. She will keep them in her mouth and spit them into her hand or on the floor and get angry if i try to encourage her to swallow them. If I grind tablets down or hide them in food it is hit and miss if she will eat them, usually she will detect the taste and just refuse, so food and tablets are wasted.
Is there a solution?
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
3,822
Nottinghamshire
Have you tried a bedtime routine?
Something like a warm milky drink when it's time to wind down. I've heard it works for some PWD. Or a tot of whisky.

I hope you've managed to get some sleep.
 

wightdancer

Registered User
Mar 15, 2017
61
Have you tried a bedtime routine?
Something like a warm milky drink when it's time to wind down. I've heard it works for some PWD. Or a tot of whisky.

I hope you've managed to get some sleep.
Thank you. i will try whisky and milk or similar.
I thought she would sleep more as Alzheimer's got worse but she seems to need less.
 

BryanG2001

Registered User
Mar 2, 2014
116
We have been through the full spectrum of getting Mum to sleep and it isn't easy. The Alzheimer's Society has various fact sheets that try to help.
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/symptoms/sleep-disturbance
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/symptoms-and-diagnosis/sleep-and-night-time-disturbance
You can also try Lavendar oil or pillow spray on the pillow.
Tablets can be crushed and given in a spoon of jam or syrup. A spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down.
The Admiral Nurses suggested using a cold remedy that also makes you sleepy, they recently released one that is liquid and caramel flavour. That tends to get us 3 to 4 hours, but as always you should check with your GP first.
Depending on your situation you may be able to get someone else to give your wife the tablets. People respond differently to different people, in a care home if one carer doesn't click with a patient they just try a different carer.
When worse comes to worse you might need to get respite care so that you can get some sleep, sleep deprivation damages the brain and health of both your wife and you.

We can do all this and sometime Mum still doesn't sleep, we are waiting on the medics to come up with a solution.
Sorry I don't have easy answers.

edit:
I forgot, try to make sure that any toileting needs are done before bedtime, needing the toilet can lead to wandering.
In case there is 'unrecognised pain' you can try giving pain killers before bed. Paracetemol can be bought in liquid or effervescent tablets to make is easier.
 
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Buteo

Registered User
Mar 20, 2019
44
Routine, toiletting, getting the bedroom right, they all help, but sometimes they don't work. My wife was up until 4.00 this morning, in spite of everything, seems to be without rhyme or reason.
 

AbbyGee

Registered User
Nov 26, 2018
37
Portsmouth, South Coast
Lavender pillow spray is great but go gently with it. Too much lavender does the opposite and acts as a stimulant. You could try a lavender room spray (not air freshener though) or lavender and ylang-ylang if the PWD doesn't object to the smell.
 

wightdancer

Registered User
Mar 15, 2017
61
Lavender pillow spray is great but go gently with it. Too much lavender does the opposite and acts as a stimulant. You could try a lavender room spray (not air freshener though) or lavender and ylang-ylang if the PWD doesn't object to the smell.

I will try Lavender Oil tonight along with crushed tablets in Jam, see how that works. Thanks for all the tips, much appreciated.
 

CWR

Registered User
Mar 17, 2019
114
Hi folks
It's 2.20am and my wife is still full of beans walking around muttering and picking up anything that is not nailed down and trying to open doors repeatedly and noisily. This late night wandering is a fairly new phenomena but can go on until 4 or 5am. She seems to need less and less sleep and simply refuses to take pills that might help her sleep. She will keep them in her mouth and spit them into her hand or on the floor and get angry if i try to encourage her to swallow them. If I grind tablets down or hide them in food it is hit and miss if she will eat them, usually she will detect the taste and just refuse, so food and tablets are wasted.
Is there a solution?
If she isn't on any medication for high blood pressure , you could try Montmorency cherry juice from a health food shop. Presumably she wouldnt mind the taste of that. I gave my mum that when she started sundowning, and it meant she went from getting up 10 or more times a night to maybe 3 at most.
 

Roseleigh

Registered User
Dec 26, 2016
297
Hi folks
It's 2.20am and my wife is still full of beans walking around muttering and picking up anything that is not nailed down and trying to open doors repeatedly and noisily. This late night wandering is a fairly new phenomena but can go on until 4 or 5am. She seems to need less and less sleep and simply refuses to take pills that might help her sleep. She will keep them in her mouth and spit them into her hand or on the floor and get angry if i try to encourage her to swallow them. If I grind tablets down or hide them in food it is hit and miss if she will eat them, usually she will detect the taste and just refuse, so food and tablets are wasted.
Is there a solution?
I found with my husband that he tended to crunch the tablets so of course they were horrible. I got him to take them by splitting a soft Haribo sweet inserting them and telling him it would taste much better now.
In the hospital they put them in a spoonful of thick sweet yoghurt. You could try earliier too, before the sundowning takes over.
 

wightdancer

Registered User
Mar 15, 2017
61
Yes, you are right, my hoping she would simply go to bed and sleep was a losing gambit. I now put lavender oil on her pillow and that has a calming effect. She still gets out of bed and wanders around muttering and picking stuff up but usually settles on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. I really try not to give her Zopiclone too much (prescribed sleeping aid) and she usually refuses it anyway!
Keeping her entertained stops snoozing in the daytime but it is not an easy option for a good nights sleep!