My 93 year old mother has advanced Alzheimer's/dementia, and her night sleep pattern is very erratic. Would a mild sedative be a bad idea?

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Seewell, I am going to try Tart Cherry Concentrate from Pure Planet. Amazon has it, but Vitacost seems (haven't looked at shipping costs yet) to be a little cheaper. I read the customer reviews and they were overwhelmingly positive for sleep as well as inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Gonna tell my sister about it, too. Thanks :)!
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You should speak to her physician before proceeding with any medication.
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At the end of the day you have to do what's best for you and your family you can take the suggestions suggested or you can refer to her doctor's recommendation and most definitely you have to do the research yourself. Just remember this is a part of life with our loved ones because they grow old and someone has to care for them. Be patient. I have experienced the same with my dad and it was trial and error. I just tried to make him as comfortable as possible. Take one step at a time. I prayed a lot that helps.
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My FIL was put on Restoril (temazepan). Lowest dose did nothing. Dr increased dosage and he sleeps through the night now.
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I give my Aunt with Severe Alzheimer's Dementia a 10 mg Melatonin Time-Release bought at SAMS Club. It works and also reduced her nightmares and hallucinations. I do keep her awake during the day and she receives some caffeine during the day first thing in AM but this works for her to keep her sleep pattern somewhat normal. Up for 12 hours and sleeping for 12 hours other than to go to restroom. The only other change I made was moving her Donepezil to the AM dose even though it causes drowsiness. It has not made her more drowsy but did reduce her waking up screaming HELP for unknown reasons. I highly recommend this treatment.
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Often very young children and very elderly people react the opposite of what the medication is used for. Example; Ritalin is a stimulant but, when given to hyperactive kids, it calms them down. Weird, I know. My ex used to get "hyped" on narcotics (for migraine) while they put everyone else to sleep. Every body is different.

It's unfortunate that you will probably be going through a few over the counter meds (on MD approval) and a few prescription meds until you find the right one. Each one should be given a fair chance to work (like 2-3 weeks) before you stop it and try something new.

When my 94 year old mother lived with us, we never got any sleep. I would try to keep her awake all day but to no avail. We had to hire a night time caregiver but we still woke up when we heard them moving around, going to the bathroom, etc. She had an obsession with going to the bathroom . (no bladder infection). She would want to get up and move around so going to the BR was a good excuse. She's still having problems at the new memory care facility. It will be trial and error.

It's a horrible problem for everyone involved with no easy answer.
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Ultimately, you need to find something that works. I would start with the Melatonin first (which is OTC, by the way), then try some relaxing teas such as Sleepytime or Valerian Root. Many people have paradoxical reactions to sedatives - and it makes them "wild" instead of "sleepy" - so they are not for everyone.
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Try a couple of spoons of Tart cherry concentrate from Pure Planet and/ or spoon(s) of honey one hour before bedtime. They're quite effective!
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I used Drift Off (available without an RX) from Zhou Nutrition that I found on Amazon.com. I found that it worked but she seemed to have gotten inured to it so I stopped using it. It does have the ability to make one "drift off" (including me) but there's no guarantee that they'll remain asleep for the duration of the night, which is what a caregiver needs when they must be somewhere (like work) bright and early. Elderly people just don't sleep the way people in their middle-age do. It seems they either sleep too much or too little. My Mom is currently (93 y/o) in the sleeping too long phase, which is a bit worrisome; and she isn't taking anything for that. I think it is just a natural part of her aging and eventually dying process. Just a few months ago she was in the sleeping too little phase, hence the reason for the Drift Off.  But I think it's quite safe. It has Melatonin and Valerian Root and some other herbs and is reasonably priced and of good quality.  I would recommend it.
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As many have already answered and I just have to also endorse.
Sedation for the dementia patient makes them worse in many cases.
It increases the chance of falls, adds to the aggressiveness, and if they are sedated too much the respiratory rate drops and they are suffering reduced oxygen levels which then adds to further problems
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