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Sleep for the carer

Selinacroft

Registered User
Oct 10, 2015
936
Looking after Dad who often calls me in the night. Any tips on surviving stop/start sleep patterns. Tried ear plugs, tried sleeping tablets Zopiclone but they are making me ratty and don't want to get dependant plus you are not meant to wake up until 7 or 8 hours later.
I need tips on instant natural sleep- it tends to take me at least an hour before I get back off to sleep again.
Can you share any tips - it always seems worse when I have to get up early for work as well.
 

Jo Sutton

Registered User
Jul 8, 2016
215
Surrey
No tips either, I'm afraid. Just wanted to send you a big hug and say that you're not alone in this.

I have exactly the same problem - I suffer from chronic pain, and when Mum wakes me up at night my painkillers have usually run out and it takes an hour for them to start working again, hence an hour before I can get back to sleep. If only I could sleep through, I wouldn't have to take so many, as the pain doesn't always wake me up on its own.

Still, it is what it is. I can't ignore her and I'm lucky that I don't work full time, so I can usually 'catch up' with an hour or two during the day while Mum is sleeping. Why is it she sleeps more during the day than at night :confused: Still, I wish I could get a full 8 hours, even occasionally :(

The GP offered anti-psychotics, but it doesn't feel right to medicate Mum when it's me that needs the help. If I get to the point where I can't care for her because I'm too tired, I'll think again, but at the moment I just don't want to go there.

I'll be watching this thread avidly for any tips anyone can give ...

Hugs

Jo xx
 
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Selinacroft

Registered User
Oct 10, 2015
936
Thank you both- it is kind of nice to know I am not alone. The Dr was not keen on prescribing anything for Dad due to increasing his confusion and risk of falling in the night.
I only work very part time so I also catch up in the day when I get a chance but whatevever I try all I do is get a max of three hours in a row before something happens.
I also get aches and pains , some of which I'm sure would be alleviated by a good night sleep.
Keep meaning to try yoga/meditation before bed etc but there is never enough time so it seems.
 

Debjac

Registered User
Mar 23, 2017
17
Wow so many people going through the same when we all feel like we are the only ones half the I never get more than 3 hours in a row and often spend an hour after dealing with one drama laying awake waiting for the next


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LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,627
Ireland
If there's an answer, I never found it! William used to sleep for about 1 1/2 to 2 hour stretches throughout the day/night. In the afternoons, we would sit in armchairs side by side and I'd hold his hand and we'd snooze for an hour or two. I made sure my chair was against the door! It's a case of sleep when you can.
 

Jo Sutton

Registered User
Jul 8, 2016
215
Surrey
Gosh! I, too, didn't realise how common this is.

Thanks so much for sharing everyone, and thank you Selinacroft for starting the thread. It really helps to know that this is 'usual' ... if anything is with this horrible disease.

Hugs

Jo xx
 
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marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,131
Scotland
Solving your own sleeplessness will not happen until you solve the broken pattern with your Dad. Early on in our dementia life my husband would be up Getting dressed for work several times a night. For over a year he took Zopiclone and Trazadone and the sleep Patterns changed. Now he gets up Once to the toilet and I see him back to bed straight away while he's still groggy. Mostly this works, mostly I get a nights sleep.
 

Marcelle123

Registered User
Nov 9, 2015
4,651
Yorkshire
I have never had to care for someone at night so don't have problems on the scale of the other posters. However, I often wake in the night because of bladder problems & stress & then can't get back off again.

There's nothing foolproof, but if it's dawn or nearly dawn, I play an mp3 of birdsong rather quietly and then lie there concentrating on listening to it. That helps.

As I have tinnitus, I also have a white noise machine and the 'ocean wave' setting can help me get off to sleep at the beginning of the night. Once the birdsong is on, I change the setting to 'white noise', which sounds like water running through a grating, and the two noises blend in.

There's also deep slow breathing. Breathe in for four slow counts - hold for seven slow counts - breathe out for eight slow counts. This is known as 4-7-8 breathing & is widely recommended.

More helpful for me is another pattern. Breathe in for 3 (slow counts) - out for 3; in for 4 - out for 4; in for 5 - out for 5 ... and so up to 7 and back down again.

If you're in a churned up mood, nothing works. So then, just try and lie quietly and get as much rest as possible that way.

Very best wishes
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,627
Ireland
Solving your own sleeplessness will not happen until you solve the broken pattern with your Dad. Early on in our dementia life my husband would be up Getting dressed for work several times a night. For over a year he took Zopiclone and Trazadone and the sleep Patterns changed. Now he gets up Once to the toilet and I see him back to bed straight away while he's still groggy. Mostly this works, mostly I get a nights sleep.
William was on 150mg of trazadone and he was also on a hefty dose of anti psychotics, exelon patches and memantine. He took 50mg of the trazadone in the afternoon and 100 mg at night. None of the meds even made him drowsy in the evenings. He had, all his life, got up and worked for an hour or two during the night, and got up at the crack of dawn, and then taken naps during the day. That pattern became more exaggerated with his dementia, but he never slept for more than a couple of hours at a time.
 

Selinacroft

Registered User
Oct 10, 2015
936
Thank you for all the ideas- I will give the breathing pattern a try- my pilates teacher recommended something similar- 3, in 12 out, 2 in 9 out 1 in an d3 out , then repeat cycle. I guess it focuses the mind and stops the churning .
As for running water , all I need ot do is open the side window as nextdoor have a none stop pond right underneath my window which sound slike someone has left a tap running.
Yoga- I must find time for----
Another one of my bad habits is to leave the tv on - my own equivalent of white noise but sometimes I end up listening to it.
Dad doesn't phone , he sits downstairs right underneath me and yells like a fog horn!
 

donutsfortea

Registered User
Apr 29, 2017
1
I listen to sleep stories and they are really good for helping you to get off to sleep at any time ... I have an app called calm....


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BR_ANA

Registered User
Jun 27, 2012
1,079
Brazil
When mum was at home, when Saturday sitter arrived and give me good morning. THAT was the only moment I allowed myself deep sleep.


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NorthBankDave

Registered User
May 10, 2017
15
Wolverhampton
Hi, it's my first post on this forum! I care for my Mum who has Alzheimer's/Vascular Dementia. She gets really conscious about security these days, locking the door several times a night, taking the keys to bed with her etc. She often calls me several times a night, asking if I have locked the front and back doors and I have to go down and check them for her otherwise she won't rest!

No magic wand for getting a good night's sleep unfortunately, I wish I did! I often feel on edge by the end of the day so, for me, I tend to put the TV on - usually something lighthearted and familiar that lifts my spirit and calms me down ('Friends' works well for me) - and put it on a timer with the sound down low. I find it comforting & it lulls me off to sleep :)
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,228
Yorkshire
hi NorthBankDave
welcome to TP :)
wonder if you could tape footsteps going to check the door etc and just play that when your mum calls out ..... would that something so simple would work!!
not TV, but radio4 extra for me .. as you say comforting and soothing ...
best wishes
 

Mum&me

Registered User
Feb 10, 2016
10
Sleeping

I cared for my mum for 6 years as vascular dementia developed . I came to this

Every day and night is different

I slept on the floor on a mattress next to her medical bed ( inflatable - bedridden)

It is important to maintain hydration and change incontinence pads as well as monitoring how warm or cold your relative is .

If you have help to cover while you sleep take advantage .

I found I ceased to function after 3 days and nights without sleep.

Remember you will become short tempered. It's not you loved ones fault however stressed you are

Good luck
 

Debjac

Registered User
Mar 23, 2017
17
I feel your pain I too get woken up most nights and only seem to get back to sleep just before alarm goes off even on the nights I'm not called I lay awake waiting for it so any magic tips will be gratefully received here too. Just remember you are not alone not a solution but does make me feel a little better xx


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LilyJ

Registered User
Apr 13, 2017
248
I may speak as a fool but I saw a TV programmme about sleep some years ago and it was quite striking to see that a lavender pillow was really effective in inducing sleep. As I say, what do I know....buf maybe worth a tdy.
 

Janeyjenkins

Registered User
Jan 13, 2017
2
Lack of sleep

Looking after Dad who often calls me in the night. Any tips on surviving stop/start sleep patterns. Tried ear plugs, tried sleeping tablets Zopiclone but they are making me ratty and don't want to get dependant plus you are not meant to wake up until 7 or 8 hours later.
I need tips on instant natural sleep- it tends to take me at least an hour before I get back off to sleep again.
Can you share any tips - it always seems worse when I have to get up early for work as well.
I have trouble getting to sleep after waking up and get talking books from the library and listen to them with earphones in a cd under the pillow so it does not disturb anyone else. It's best to get something easy to listen to as a thriller keeps me awake. Hope this helps as it as recommended by a doctor when my Dad was looking after my Mum.