• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Shouting out in his sleep

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,654
South coast
I have a new problem with OH, that did not happen with mum and I dont think Im coping very well with it.

For several mornings recently OH has been shouting out and when I have gone into his room he seems to be awake and shouting things like "Your killing me", "hes coming for me" and getting in a state, or he is shouting in a very creepy voice, totally unlike his own, "youve got to kill yourself". I confess that the hairs stand up on the back of my neck - it is like being in one of those horror films where someone is being possessed. OH seems to be awake, but not really and I shake him and shout at him (hes very deaf) to try and wake him up, but he is disorientated and confused for a while. I admit that I am angry - probably due to the fear. Eventually I can reassure him that hes had a nightmare, but how do I deal with that initial problem while he is shouting and confused?
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
343
How strange to see a question posted by the Canary ? I always think you know the answer to every scenario, it just goes to show dementia outwits us all!
Not a nice situation to have to deal with, your other half is going the extra mile to present a challenge.
Is he shouting prior to you entering the room!
Or when you enter the room he starts?
If we were not dealing with dementia I would advise to try just leaving him.
Your attention rewards his negative behaviour.
But this is dementia !
Any recent medication changes.
Please be aware of any potential weapons in the vicinity , if the situation deteriorates there is a possibility of you being in danger, we know what dementia can do to the loveliest of people.
Thinking of danger would it be an idea to take him a nice pint of water in case he gets thirsty in the night ???
That way there should be some water on the bedside cabinet to throw over him if things go very wrong?
What about a radio ready to turn on some of his favourite music as you walk in (quite loud then you say nothing and let the music do the talking) ?
Don’t feed him cheese at night?
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,538
Nottinghamshire
I'm a big fan of horror films and I've often seen elements of what's in them manifest in dementia. It makes me wonder how many horror writers have witnessed mental illness in one way or another. I wouldn't want to live in one though 😱

I wonder if it's better to let your OH wake up by himself? I can understand you not wanting him to be distressed and how scary it must be for you but would he remember when he wakes and is he likely to hurt himself or you?

Do you think he might be seeing or reading something before he goes to sleep to trigger the bad dreams?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,654
South coast
@Weasell - he is shouting and distressed before I go in, which is why I go in and he continues to shout even while I am there. He is sort of in between waking and sleeping, he knows I am there, but continues shouting and getting distressed.
@Bunpoots - he still remembers what happened and getting distressed when he wakes up. No sign of him hurting himself, or me, fortunately.

There has been no change in medication recently. I suspect that this is what is called "lucid dreams" of the sort that people with LBD get, but I dont know how to handle it.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,375
Kent
Hello @canary

Because of your OH`s deafness, do you think holding his hand and perhaps rubbing his upper arm would reassure him, perhaps saying `It`s all right, Don`t worry` etc even if he doesn`t hear you.

Perhaps a chair by the bed for you so you can sit with him quietly until he calms down.

Once you recover from your initial fear it may help.

I know it`s frightening.

My husband often used to shout out in the night but because we were in the same bed and he had no hearing loss I was able to reassure him pretty quickly.

Of course there may be a difference between those with Alzheimer`s and I think your OH has Lewy Body Dementia if I'm not mistaken.

Norrms who posts here often wrote about his nightmares. At one time he said hot chocolate before bed helped. Perhaps you could try it. Anything is worth a try.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,654
South coast
@Grannie G - OH does not have a diagnosis yet. I was initially told that he had bvFTD and he has symptoms of FTD, but this diagnosis has been withdrawn. LBD is something that has been considered but rejected.

@Weasell - thats interesting. Im not sure if it fits exactly, but worth bearing in mind.
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,542
cornwall
@Weasell - he is shouting and distressed before I go in, which is why I go in and he continues to shout even while I am there. He is sort of in between waking and sleeping, he knows I am there, but continues shouting and getting distressed.
@Bunpoots - he still remembers what happened and getting distressed when he wakes up. No sign of him hurting himself, or me, fortunately.

There has been no change in medication recently. I suspect that this is what is called "lucid dreams" of the sort that people with LBD get, but I dont know how to handle it.
Hi. Dad has in occasion shouted out but he is not deaf. I tend to put on a light prior going into his bedroom..I also stand at the bottom of his bed and lightly touch his hand. Then wait.Usually works.Hopefully something like this may help@canary
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
343
Hi. Dad has in occasion shouted out but he is not deaf. I tend to put on a light prior going into his bedroom..I also stand at the bottom of his bed and lightly touch his hand. Then wait.Usually works.Hopefully something like this may help@canary
I was also wondering about light.
I was wondering about one of those alarm clocks that gradually increase light?
Also I was wondering if something with a strong smell could help to awaken him?
I think I would be trying to get him to have a smoothie made of milk and banana prior to going to bed.
 

LynneMcV

Registered User
May 9, 2012
3,976
south-east London
I experienced this a few times during my husband 's illness and it is frightening when it happens.

I don't have an answer really. Like @Grannie G , I slept with my husband and, most times, I was there to calm him very quickly more or less from the moment he started to call out. I would just hold his hand and talk gently to him until he gradually extricated himself from the dream or fell into a more peaceful sleep.

However, later into the illness my husband would go to bed ahead of me, about 9pm - and more than once I walked in on him in full throes of acting out his dreams when I went to bed around midnight.

Sometimes he would want to protect me from 'the threat' and other times he thought I was the threat and would try to attack me.

I think one of the scariest times was when he started to growl like an animal in his sleep. It got louder and more menacing to the point where the hairs on the back of my neck were rising and he sounded like an animal about to go for the kill. I didn't dare touch him, I almost ran from the room but then stood by the door gently calling to my husband and reassuring him. He didn't wake up but he did go into a more peaceful sleep.

I ended up getting a baby monitor so that I could be aware of when he was going into one of these episodes while I was downstairs - that way I was with him very quickly before it escalated.

It wasn't a regular occurrence fortunately, these things happened sporadically over the 6 years of diagnosis.

I agree with @Bunpoots that a gentle awakening is best.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,802
Chester
I've experienced similar situations although not in a PWD - I suspect there is a vivid dream gene on my husband's side.

My son had what are called 'baby night terrors' when he was under one - I didn't realise he was still asleep to start with (eyes wide open), and whilst the book says not to wake found that gently waking him was the only solution, leaving him asleep didn't work.

Mu husband often talks in his sleep - which wakes me up - but he has had a couple of 'scary dreams' and I did have to wake him from them - he was very disorientated and sort of still in the dream as he woke.

My daughter has alot of dreams which she can tell us about and when she shared a tent with my son he could recount all of them as she vocalised them - she did get scared and cry out at points as well but not for long enough to wake us.

She has had a couple of more recent dreams where she was very upset and I had to wake her to calm her - with what I knew from son and husband I assumed she was asleep and woke her very gently but she did take time to come round.

I learnt how to deal with this with my son and have treated the others as the same - there was no way the being afraid was going to end without waking them up - and the sooner the better before the dream gets scarier.

I realise not PWD but it might help.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,654
South coast
Thank you everyone. You have all been very helpful and given me a lot to think about. A waking up gradually approach seems to be the best way. Ill see if I can get him to have a milky drink tonight too.
 

Showmino

Registered User
Feb 4, 2019
12
Thank you everyone. You have all been very helpful and given me a lot to think about. A waking up gradually approach seems to be the best way. Ill see if I can get him to have a milky drink tonight too.
Hi. With children who have night terrors it’s worth checking to see if there’s a regular time when they happen- I think they can happen in a particular part of the sleep cycle. Not sure if it’s helpful for a PWD but if the sleep terrors happen at a regular time, it can be helpful to do something before they start to disrupt the sleep cycle a bit Not necessarily to wake the person but maybe lighten the sleep with music or light. Hope that offers another possibility to try.
 

Starbright

Registered User
Apr 8, 2018
524
Hi @canary ...I know From your posts that your oh uses his iPad a lot and I wondered if you knew what he’s actually reading ..I say this because my oh reads detective books , before the Dementia he was reading 2 or 3 a week. Now rarely but he used to dream and have nightmares a lot sometimes kind of acting out the story he’d read . As @Grannie G said I too just talked to him even though he’s very deaf and stroked his arm and face and eventually he would wake. I don’t think he could hear me but it seemed to work ....
Hope you have a better night tonight .(((..Here’s a Hug ))) A x