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Senior Health

Sleeping during the day instead of night

01/21/2003

Question:

My 85 year old father has congenital heart disease and has just been put into a nursing home. He is awake at night roaming the halls and then sleeps during the day which means he barly eats his meals.

Is there anything that can be done to help him get his internal clock back to normal. Should he be given a sleeping pill at night so that he can be awake during the day.

Answer:

Most 85 y.o.`s in a nursing home have some degree of dementia which may contribute to the problem.  The new adjustment probably has him somewhat confused and/or disoriented.  Overall medical condition and medications sometimes also contribute.  A short-term sleeping pill may be appropriate and can be discussed with his doctor.

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Response by:

Steven Bartz, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati