While changes to our sleep patterns occur naturally as we get older, scientists
are discovering links between changes to sleep and senior cognitive decline,
dementia, and memory impairment. Released in Nature Neuroscience, the study conducted
by neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley found that
age-related deterioration of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain
was associated with a failure to obtain the type of deep, slow-wave sleep
which helps the brain consolidate memories and information in seniors.
According to the National Institutes of Health, not only do people get
less deep sleep as they age, they are also more susceptible to disruptions
to their sleep schedule, suffer from sleep apnea and insomnia, or develop
movement disorders like restless leg syndrome that prevents them from
obtaining a good night’s rest. Scientists are now learning that
some of these sleep disruptions correlate with impaired cognition and,
in some cases, the later onset of dementia.
It is important there is not a direct link between
Alzheimer’s and sleep. The interactions between cognitive impairment and sleep are
complex, and there are a variety of factors which cause changes in sleep
patterns as our loved one's age.
In order to create an optimal sleep environment and promote rest for a
person with Alzheimer’s:
- Establish a routine that sets up regular times for eating throughout the
day, sleeping at night, and getting up in the morning
- Exposure to the morning sunlight
- Exercise daily, but not later than four hours before bedtime
- Treat any pain
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
- Ensure the bedroom temperature is comfortable
- If the individual wakes up, discourage staying in bed while awake
- Avoid watching television during periods of wakefulness
For more information about our exceptional services,
contact Mount Carmel Assisted Living today.