sleepless nights


Registered User
Feb 12, 2004
south yorkshire
Heollo again
New problems seem to be arising very frequently for mum who has vascular dementia (probably entering late stages) Dad has mentioned today that mum has started wandering in the night and they are having increased restless nights. our concern is obviously for dad as well as mum because if he does not get is rest how can he cope in the day. she has been taking lorazepam 1mg for sometime now because she was frequently getting up a while back, but dad feels they are no longer working effectively.has anyone any views for or against sleeping tablets any advice would be welcome.


Registered User
Dec 11, 2003
Tully, Qld, Australia
Dear Wenla,

Ask your Doctor to prescribe another form of sleeping tabs for your mother. They do certainly become ineffective after prolonged usage. My mother has been taking Zopiclone for some time and these seem to be pretty good. All sleeping tabs are addictive but you all have to sleep at sometime. If you have a look at my past posts from January, you will see that I asked a similar question, as I was getting up six or seven times a night to attend to my parents wanderings. A change of sleeping tablet sorted things out fairly quickly fortunately.
Regards Jude

John Bottomley

Registered User
Apr 7, 2004
Night time wandering

I think this is probably the single hardest problem to try and manage using medication. Medication just isn't that effective for many people, or isn't safe.

The problem is that sleeping tablets help get people off to sleep (making them drowsy shortly after taking them) but they don't keep people alseep, so folks still wake up through the night and then stay awake. Longer acting tablets causing drowsiness mean that folks are then drowsy through the night, so at major risk of falls when they try and get out of bed and walk. There are also hang over effects through in to the day if using long acting sedative medicines.

When used long term, sleeping tablets can stop working.

All sleeping tablets help by making people drowsy/sleepy and increase total quantity of sleep, but they all reduce stage 3/stage 4 'deep sleep' that's the restful/refreshing stage of sleep, so the overall quality of sleep is at best unchanged, or sometimes worse.

They're not licensed to use long term use (beyond a few weeks).

When sleep disturbance is very pronounced it's incredibly hard for carers to manage, so sleeping tablets can have a role to play in helping them get some rest, so the situation's manageable and everyone can cope. But although sleeping tablets then help the carer, the individual with dementia gets enough sleep, and the sleeping tablet's invariably not doing anything specifically useful for them.

I'm not a fan of them, although they can be useful short term for some people some of the time.


Registered User
Aug 18, 2003
east sussex
Dear Wenla
Sorry to hear of the problem with your mum's wandering - very typical of 'sun downing' - related to this awful disease - anyone that has been through it with a close relative knows how tiring it can be. My dad, although well past this stage used to do this every night - sometimes he would decide he was going home and other times he had lost his animals - he used to be a farmer - so had to go looking for them. It got to the point that mum just could not cope so our GP prescribed sleeping tablets, just so that mum could get some sleep before the next day of caring started. Sadly dad became aggressive and we had to resort to having him put into care. I don't know the long term effectiveness of sleeping tablets, but if it gives the carer some respite to cope with another day - do it!
Wish you well Susan