Sleep problems and solutions

Sleep is a significant problem for people with Lewy body dementia – 40% of people with Alzheimer’s have sleep problems, compared with 90% of those with Lewy body dementia.  So said Rachel Thompson, who presented with her colleague Rachael Webb, both Admiral Nurses specialising in the Lewy body variant of the condition.

Changes in the brain, undetected pain, medication side-effects were among the factors responsible, Thompson said, and the effects included poor mood and concentration, lower quality of life, plus high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cognitive decline. and anxiety and depression in the longer term.

“It really impacts on how people cope,” she added.  “What makes for a bad night makes for a bad day.”

Webb offered some tips for better sleep, although she pointed out that there is no single fix.  More daily exercise, less daytime rest, and more exposure to natural light to reduce sleep-inducing melatonin during the day were among those on her list.  “Try not to nap too late in the day and keep the house bright till bedtime on dark evenings,” she suggested.