For the exhausted caregiver, sleep can't come too soon. For many people with AD, however, the approach of nighttime may be a difficult time. Many people with AD become restless, agitated, and irritable around dinnertime, often referred to as "sundowning" syndrome. Getting the person to go to bed and stay there may require some advance planning.
- Encourage exercise during the day and limit daytime napping, but make sure that the person gets adequate rest during the day because fatigue can increase the likelihood of late afternoon restlessness.
- Try to schedule more physically demanding activities earlier in the day. For example, bathing could be earlier in the morning, or large family meals could be at midday.
- Set a quiet, peaceful tone in the evening to encourage sleep. Keep the lights dim, eliminate loud noises, even play soothing music if the person seems to enjoy it.
- Try to keep bedtime at a similar time each evening. Developing a bedtime routine may help.
- Restrict access to caffeine late in the day.
- Use night lights in the bedroom, hall, and bathroom if the darkness is frightening or disorienting.
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