Lewy Body Dementia affects approximately 1.4 million Americans, and is most common in individuals over the age of 50. This disease is associated with a host of cognitive changes, and symptoms often include a change in sleeping habits. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) and is experiencing trouble sleeping, it may be helpful to try the tips we share below.
Exposure to Natural Light
Sleep disturbances can be challenging for both the patient and caregiver. Lack of sleep often results in a host of negative side effects, and especially so for those diagnosed with LBD. Waking up multiple times per night or failing to reach deep sleep may lead to an increase in delusions or hallucinations, and can also poorly impact memory and mood. To encourage restful nights, be sure to offer your loved one plenty of exposure to natural light each day. Spending at least 30 minutes outdoors daily can have a significant impact on health. Sunlight is essential for boosting Vitamin D levels and regulating circadian rhythms, and may help individuals of all ages enjoy a better night’s sleep.
An appropriate level and amount of exercise is a vital component of treatment for LBD. Gentle forms of exercise, such as walking or yoga, should be included in the daily routine for patients in the early or middle stages. Regular exercise may not be feasible as the disease progresses, but it’s important to make an effort to encourage consistent physical activity for as long as possible. Just a few minutes of exercise per day can make a noticeable impact on the individual’s quality and length of sleep.
Establish a Routine
In many cases, those with LBD or other forms of dementia lose the ability to stick with a predictable routine for sleeping and waking. An inconsistent schedule can wreak havoc on sleep patterns for individuals of all ages, and patients with LBD often benefit from assistance with maintaining a routine. If possible, check in with your loved one each morning and night to ensure a consistent sleep schedule. For those in the early stages of LBD, a simple wakeup call may suffice. To promote a healthy environment for falling asleep, remind or assist the patient to dim the lights and limit screen time a couple of hours before bed.
Sleep disorders and hallucinations are among the most common Lewy Body Dementia symptoms. Other symptoms may be exacerbated by lack of sleep, so it’s important to encourage healthy habits. The tips we share here are just a few options to promote restful nights for those with LBD, and if you need additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center. Our helpline is available seven days per week, and we’re happy to speak with you and offer resources or insight. To get in touch with us, call 516-218-2026 or send us an email.