If your loved one’s doctor has ruled out health conditions or side effects as the cause of their sleep disturbances, you can try to help your loved one cope by avoiding triggers for sleeplessness. Before turning to medications, try the following techniques to help your loved one enjoy a restful night’s sleep:
Maintain a steady schedule.
As much as possible, have your loved one wake up, go to bed and eat meals at the same times each day. This can help your loved one maintain a consistent internal “clock” that tells their body when it’s time for sleep.
Plan active days.
Schedule appointments and activities in the morning and afternoon so your loved one is less likely to rest all day. Limit daytime napping and encourage daily exercise (at least four hours before bed) to help them sleep more at night.
Seek sunlight exposure.
Help your loved one get outside in the morning, either by going for a walk or gardening. Sunlight and other sources of light therapy can help your loved one associate being awake with daylight.
Avoid nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and large dinners. Have your loved one’s biggest meal be at noon, and keep dinner simple.
Adjust the lighting.
If your loved one becomes upset due to reduced light and shadows, keep their home well lit at night, installing night lights in the bedroom and hallways. On the other hand, light can affect our ability to stay asleep. Control the lighting according to your loved one’s symptoms.
Limit environmental triggers.
In the evening hours, try to eliminate the factors that trigger your loved one’s sleep problems or sun-downing behaviors, such as watching TV, having visitors, doing chores, loud noises, etc.
Keep a good sleep environment.
Make sure the temperature of your loved one’s bedroom isn’t too hot or too cold. Ensure they are comfortable by treating any pain and making sure they’ve gone to the bathroom before bed. Provide security objects if you can.