Health Watch -- Alzheimer's Disease: Bedtime

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about Alzheimer’s disease and how to make life easier for both patients and caregivers. The disease often interrupts sleep patterns, leaving the patient agitated in the evenings or wandering at night. Doctors call this “sundowning.”

Dr. Roger Rosenberg, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says dietary habits can impact sleep habits. Avoid stimulants like coffee or cola after lunchtime, and avoid liquids after 5 in the evening. Serve liquids earlier in the day to prevent dehydration. Provide a light evening meal. Keep a light on and reassure the patient if he or she wakes up during the night with anxiety. You may need to talk to a doctor about a mild sedative if sleep remains a problem.

Next: Driving with Alzheimer’s disease.


November 2006

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