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Your comment reminded me of a close friend I had in high school. She couldn't eat pickles before bedtime because they gave her nightmares. I guess you could say she got caught in a dream pickle - lol.
So -just a good quality "all weather" down comforter in a cotton duvet cover, tank top and cotton pj bottoms and a cool - current hubbys says too cold - temp in the bedroom, it is.
I can't say it's helped my insomnia but I can say my nightmares have greatly lessened.
Sleep disorders and disrupted sleep and fairly common in dementia.
I agree with MichiganOwl. Having a sleep study may result in a diagnosis that is treatable. I can imagine, though, that the study itself might be too disturbing for many persons with dementia.
Is the person on medication(s)? Some drugs and/or supplements can contribute to nightmares. Melatonin is one supplement that can contribute to nightmares. Some medications to treat Dementia can also cause nightmares.
As others also mentioned, nightmares or night terrors can also be caused by Dementia. My mother-in-law with severe Dementia was a Sundowner, and she had night terrors - the type where she believed people were going to come after her / us at night.
With the assistance of her physician we were able to wean her off the two pharmaceuticals she was prescribed, and replaced those with natural supplements. Over time, that reduced the frequency of the night terrors, plus her anxiety levels dropped significantly! She had less negative emotional episodes from Sundowning. She passed away at 93 years of age, but at least for the last few years of her life we were able to reduce her emotional misery from the Dementia.
A drug call "pravosin" (look it up, I am not spelling it right) is one of the first "PTSD" drugs used in war vets. Also for people like me, who fear sleep b/c it's not restful or pleasant. It did work, but it also worked as a diuretic and the last thing I need is getting up 6xs a night to use the bathroom.
I wouldn't "woo-hoo" the dream analysis, as this is kind of what my therapy consists of. Journaling is a good way to begin the path to finding out why you have nightmares.
Dreams are a way for the unconscious mind to speak to the conscious mind. Shedding light on unconscious feelings can bring peace to the unconscious mind.
I like the cuddling idea but be careful - the one time I decided to wake Ray, I became part of his dream and he slugged me. While I got a lot of mileage out of it, I never tried to wake him again that way.