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I care for my dad with dementia in my home. We have a video monitor which we use at night, and have his sleep habits pretty much under control. I fall asleep fine. I can wake up on my own in the middle of the night, like to use the bathroom, and go back to sleep just fine. However, when Dad calls for me in the middle of the night (this week was BAD, it was four nights in a row because of gas issues with his colostomy, and then last night it was my daughter not feeling well, I need SLEEP, lol!) I wake on high alert/with high anxiety and I CANNOT go back to sleep. I’ve tried oils, breathing & relaxation techniques, and melatonin. I’m just so amped up after I take care of that situation, that nothing works. Any suggestions?

One thing I've noticed that affects my sleep is if I've eaten dinner, particularly a meal high in carbs like spaghetti. If I skip dinner, or simply have something light such as a piece of fruit, I sleep so much better. Give that a try.
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Reply to XenaJada
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I suffer with terrible insomnia. One thing I find helps is to think of something totally irrelevant to me. Like a t.v. show I may have watched. Just something that I can't personalize to the point where I start getting anxious.

I hope you can get some sleep!
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Reply to Gershun
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The suggestions for waterfall or rain sound helpful. I always found the sound of waves at the beach soothing and relaxing. I've had people suggest boring books, but I found that the boring was just that, boring. If it was something interesting, I wanted to read it, but all too often I'd fall asleep before I finished a page or two!

Sometimes when sleepless I've noted tenseness in my body. I would take a deep breath and then on exhale focus on relaxing every part, arms, legs, shoulders... let yourself feel like you are melting into the bed. Keep taking long slow breaths and slow exhales, relaxing more and more as you exhale. Generally you can feel the tenseness go as you relax - then the suggestions about focusing on something like counting numbers or whatever, helps to get the mind off the usual worries and thought threads.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I can relate entirely. That is exactly how I am when I get woken up. I try now not to be anxious about getting back to sleep, and just accept and trust that I will get rest or sleep somehow during the rest of the night or the next day. I put on an audio from this lady's teachings:
https://elisabethelliot.org/
Something about her voice and the topics, keep me interested and relax me, then before I know it, I am back to sleep. It has been effective for me most every time.
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Reply to zeph317
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My doctor agrees with my using Sativa (cannabis) gummies, 1 10mg. a night.

very calming. Works like a charm. No feeling of “being high”. Benzodiazepines can cause memory problems. No known side effects with the cannabis. I live in California where it’s legal and readily available.
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Reply to HattieG
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How is it that a stoma nurse needs to wake you up to help change his bag? Perhaps I misunderstood?

You cannot go on being deprived of sleep. Sleep is essential.

If I were in your position with his output being unpredictable, then I would go see his doctor and see about putting him on a new diet and not feeding past a certain time. Also ask about giving him Gas-X. You cannot live like this!
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Llamalover47 Apr 6, 2021
NYDaughterInLaw: I believe that the OP states that the stoma nurse is set up to come next week.
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A lot of individuals on here may not like this answer, but have you ever considered THC/CBD? I discovered this late in life and while I was caregiving for 5 years with my ALZ mother, I tried it and it worked wonders with my sleep, attitude and overall anxious behavior. It's legal here in CA and medically in most states. Good luck.
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Reply to jgrissom61
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Carolann2244 Apr 7, 2021
I did use CBD oil for anxiety a few years ago and it was helpful but so pricey. I will look into it again.
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Imho, sleeplessness is very difficult although I do understand that you're getting SOME sleep. Perhaps you require an aide.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Am caregiver who sleeps in the bed with her. Yes I have trouble going back to sleep too. I get the adrenalin rush aspect.
I use Alexa to play Meditation or Spa channel on Amazon music.
oils don’t help much due to the smell of smoke etc in her room. I am a Christian so prayer helps calm my mind.
lastly, I’ve begun sipping on chamomile tea before bed.
lastly, when they nap, you nap. Just like when my babies were little.

best of all and hugs.
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Reply to JoyfulOne
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If having to care for him and in addition have your own responsibilities is physically and mentally harming you, then you know what you have to do. Either find someone to take care of him completely at night so you can sleep or you place him. This should not be happening to you and will eventually cause illness, etc. for you. No one should be subjected to these conditions.
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Riley2166 Apr 6, 2021
l go to bed around 1 a.m. and wake up around 3:30 - 4:00 a.m. and can't sleep. So I sit and read for as long as it takes to make me fight to stay awake. Then it is time for me to go back to bed and I am dead to the world - just get up a bit later the next morning. It works where nothing else will work. Or you an take a sleeping pill when you first go to bed and you will be so tired all night you will go back to sleep.
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Sleep is so important and can be so hard to get. After my mom's stroke I needed a way to drown out my constant disturbing thoughts at night that usually had me in tears. Occasionally various guided meditation sessions or soothing mediation music, all found free on YouTube, or a free app called Sleep Orbit that allows you to customize the nature sounds you want to hear, helped. This may sound strange but what's worked best for me for a few years now (& thankfully for my husband too) are old time radio plays. The best one for us is the series of 59 half-hour episodes of "Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator" from the early 1950's. There's a huge variety of radio plays and shows you can download free. Google "Old Time Radio Researchers Group" or "Internet Archive" to see what's available. I've tried many series but found the easy going pace of this series and actor William Gargon's voice soothing even though someone always gets killed and he gets conked on the head in almost every episode. My husband and I each keep an iPad near our side of the bed and turn on an episode whenever we need to. I played some for Mom and she liked them too. There are also musical shows, comedies, etc that perhaps your Dad might enjoy. I wish you good sleep and pleasant dreams Carolann2244 during this difficult time in your life.
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SnoopyLove Apr 6, 2021
Thanks for the old radio plays tip! This sounds like something my dad would love.
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I count. ONE on inhale TWO on exhale. Only those two numbers. If you stray a bit with thoughts, just start again. Only thing that works for me. Good luck, God bless
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Reply to lasique
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My go to for insomnia is to thank our Beloved Father for all the blessings big and small He has shared with me through out the day. At first it is difficult but with practice you can do it. I never finish the prayer but end up going into a peaceful nights sleep.

The second go to is to download white noise from youtube. I prefer waterfalls. But try them out and see which ones you like. As well, put two drops of rose oil on each side of your pillow every night. That should do it.

I used to get very little sleep because of being a worry wort. Not anymore.
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Reply to Christservant
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Im sure you was sleep deprived when your children were bAbies. What did you do then? Of course you were younger it I'm going to advise you to take a nap while he is sleeping. Your husband or children or whomever is there to keep an eye out during the day so you can take a rest of a nap. If you don't take care of yourself you will not be able to care for your father. You could put him in long care facility. Good luck God bless
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Reply to Sharon45caregiv
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Ive been through the same thing. I just brought Dad back home from Nursing Home. Our current home care nurses are coming to the house everyday to check his vitals. We found pressure sores in his heels. Nurses said nursing home just left him in bed the whole time and didn't get him up. Anyways...I recently found some Rain videos on YouTube that run for 10 hours or less. It calms me down to sleep. Even though I still get up about 3:30am to check automatically on him I get back to bed to sleep again with the rain sounds. It's so peaceful and calming I was surprised it's working for me so try it out. Good luck. No matter what it's better than Dad being left alone in his room laying in bed getting sores on him.
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Reply to Deborahlyn
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Christservant Apr 6, 2021
I like the waterfalls but those are all great aren't they.
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Please talk to your doctor about your sleep anxiety issues. Being in the midst of "fight or flight" adrenaline rushes at night will keep anybody from sleeping. He/She can prescribe medications and treatment to help you relax and stay asleep.

It might also be a good idea to hire somebody to "take a night shift" a couple of times per week so you can just relax and sleep. Hire a sitter for minimum wage, or ask a family member to help, so you can just sleep and know that somebody else will attend to your father at night.
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Reply to Taarna
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Riverdale Apr 6, 2021
Very helpful response
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Whate error the nightly issues are. Check with your Dad's Dr to let him prescribe something to help with the gas and or ask him about giving your Dad a 5mil of Melatonin at night to help him sleep.

My Dr said it was alright to give it to my 96 yr old Dad with dementia.

Also my Dad likes a snack before going to bed as he doesn't eat much at meals.

You may also try a cup of Sleepy Time Tea right before bedtime along with the melatonin and try playing some relaxing music like sounds of nature like ocean waves.
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Klonopine seems to be the best answer, so far, since your inquiry states that you’ve tried all the relaxation steps. I’d suggest see your doctor, and try a prescription of something like Ambien, first. If that doesn’t do it, try something like Clonipine.
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Reply to RM1ofMany
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I have turned on podcasts that are long and are on boring subjects, put in one earbud so I can still hear my hubby if he needs me, and zone out after a few minutes.
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Reply to Laburtck
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Short answer. You need someone to help you. Whether it’s a nursing home or in home care The management alone is a full time job. No one can both manage what you’ve described and administer care.
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Reply to Jeppie43
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I have a Rx for a benzodiazepine called Klonipin. It’s only 1 mg. And I only take one if I can’t get back to sleep due to worry or anxiety or I know that I need a god night's sleep. I rarely ever use it but it is an anti anxiety agent and will calm those thoughts down so you can get back to sleep. It was extremely helpful when I cared for dad. My physician had no problem prescribing it for me. Just don’t take them every night as one can become dependent on them.
now days if I wake up and feel I can’t get back to sleep, I take a 100 mg Tryptophan capsule and sometimes add a 3 mg quick dissolve melatonin lozenge. (Nature's Bounty brand).
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Reply to Harpcat
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You do not mention a husband. Had friends years ago that husband would take night shift (slept in room near the parent) so spouse could sleep full night. Perhaps spouse could do on call nights on the weekend?
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Reply to MissTee
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I had same issue. I live in state where medical marijuana is legal and was suggested for me. Let me suggest trying this for you. There are many different choices and they will help you find what works for you... Cbd or otherwise.
Good luck!
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Reply to tjstyme
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It’s so challenging, I’ve worked on little things like watching what I have for dinner, taking a bath before bed, etc. The one I use the most: shows lined up on my iPad, ones about the stars and the universe and whatnot have been the best for me! There’s a surprising amount of those and other comforting documentaries on Prime Video and on Netflix, once you find one then others get offered up. May sound odd but I realized how much I passed out when I sat down to watch something so now I plan it out that way, and with a subject that’s good for my psyche vs. my regular detective shows, etc.
And of course, if you can get it in, exercise during the day may help you get and stay tuckered at night.
Wishing you all the best, going without sleep sucks!
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Reply to Zdarov
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If you get a workable answer - SHARE. I am operating on about 11 hours since 2/22
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Reply to rainedunder
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Carolann2244 Apr 5, 2021
I’m sorry!! It’s so awful!
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You have to be careful with Melatonin & the elderly. After reading several papers on it, I give m 103 yr old grand 1/2 of a 3 mg quick dissolve half an hour before bed. She has advanced dementia, and so far so good. here is a link to 1 paper. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699865/
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Reply to Crystal95437
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Nothingleft Apr 4, 2021
Hi, pretty sure she was talking about herself not being able to fall back asleep. When the one care for wakes you suddenly it extremely hard to just go back asleep. I totally understand where’s she coming from.
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I did the high alert for close to a year until he died. It’s been 3 months since then and I am still not back to normal. I will Never do it again as it would ruin what is left of my health. paid caregivers are the only solution and NO video audio monitors at all.
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Reply to klhblues
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Try Holy Basil.
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Reply to tevincolorado
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disgustedtoo Apr 7, 2021
While it may be helpful for some, one should read the whole webmd page (a lot of NEXT buttons!), esp the "Insufficient Evidence for" section, which lists sleep under Stress:

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1101/holy-basil

Side Effects:
"When taken by mouth: Holy basil is POSSIBLY SAFE when used for up to 8 weeks. Taking holy basil might cause nausea or diarrhea. There isn't enough reliable information available to know if it is safe to use for longer than 8 weeks."

Wonder which is worse, lack of sleep or nausea and diarrhea...
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I can empathize. My hubby gets confused around the time of the full moon. He will wake me up and ask me if I've fed the dog, if I want breakfast, is it time to get uo, etc etc etc. I trained myself to go back to sleep quickly. It will take 3 or 4 days, maybe more, but it will work. Start counting from 5. Inhale and think 5. Exhale and think sleep. Inhale 4, exhale sleep. Inhale 3, exhale sleep, etc until you get to 1. Then start over. Concentrate on the number and the word sleep. Keep doing it. You will go to sleep.

Our brains will fulfill our thoughts. If we lie there and think I can't sleep, then I won't sleep. If I think I'll never be able to go back to.sleep, then I won't.

I worked shift works for 8 years, two weeks per shift. The easiest shifts were the repetitive 8 hours (8-4, 10-6, 4-12, 12 mid -8a) The worst shifts were 8-4 one day, 4-12, the next, 10-6, the next, 3-11, etc. One of the other Inspectors told me this trick and I've used it for 30+ years. It took one of my friends about 10 days to master it, but she did.

Having said that, I would love to sleep an uninterrupted 8 hours. But I'm afraid that day will be here sooner than I want.😔
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Reply to Maple3044
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I will check out that brand, thank you!
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