The Sleep Kit Helps People with Dementia Get More Sleep

The Sleep Kit

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Eve Baird, Activity Coordinator, Therapeutic Recreation

Project Title: The Sleep Kit: Alternative Sleep Therapies for Those Living with Dementia

What is the issue? 

For people with dementia, getting a good nights’ sleep is essential because lack of sleep can make their symptoms worse. But about 70 percent have trouble sleeping, and as a result, caregivers have trouble sleeping too. Staff in long-term care do not always have time to help each resident with a personalized bedtime routine 

What did we do? 

I tested whether bedtime routine activities would improve the quality of sleep for people living with dementia. I created The Sleep Kit, which contains items that stimulate the senses. It contains playing cards, a relaxing CD, essential oil, a hair brush, lotion, a book, and colouring bookThere is also a sleep diary for caregivers to record sleep history and provide feedback about what items they found the most useful. Sixteen people living at home and 25 nursing home residents, and their respective caregivers, tested the kit.  

What did we find?  

On average, individuals in long-term care settings experienced three less bouts of restlessness each night when they used The Sleep Kit. Most caregivers felt it helped them engage and communicate better with their partner. The most helpful items were the hairbrushessential oilbookCD, and the lotion. Seventy-five percent of caregivers said they would continue to use kit.