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Does Dementia Cause You To Sleep A Lot

Do People With Dementia Sleep A Lot During The Day

Persons with Dementia: Skills for Addressing Challenging Behaviors (V16MIR)

Some people with dementia sleep excessively during the daytime. They may feel like they cant stay awake, and they may take long naps that interfere with nighttime sleep and overall quality of life.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is more common in people with Parkinsons disease dementia or Lewy body dementia than in those with Alzheimers. Some factors that may contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness include:

  • Insufficient sleep at night
  • Damage to brain cells caused by dementia
  • Changes in sleep pattern caused by dementia
  • Mental health conditions, such as depression
  • Other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea

Stage : Moderate Dementia

Patients in stage 5 need some assistance in order to carry out their daily lives. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented about the time and place, have trouble making decisions, and forget basic information about themselves, such as a telephone number or address.

While moderate dementia can interfere with basic functioning, patients at this stage do not need assistance with basic functions such as using the bathroom or eating. Patients also still have the ability to remember their own names and generally the names of spouses and children.

Sleep Medications And Alzheimers

If your loved oneâs doctor prescribes medicine to help them rest, theyâll probably start at the lowest dose possible and stop the drugs as soon as sleep patterns improve.

Medications include:

  • Sleeping pills such as zaleplon and zolpidem

Doctors also sometimes prescribe drugs called antipsychotics such as risperidone . They can be helpful, but they also might increase the risk of death in some people with dementia. Youâll want to talk carefully with your loved oneâs doctor about this medicine before they take it.

Just as Alzheimerâs sleep problems can change over the years, so do the ways you can handle it. Always talk to your doctor about which options are best.

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Review Any Medication Being Taken

The side-effects of some dementia drugs may not promote a restful sleep, so chat to your parents doctor about the optimum time of day to take them. Dont be tempted to give sleeping pills to someone with dementia, as hypnotics or sedatives can exacerbate confusion.

Weve detailed the medications used in the treatment of dementia to help you understand the different types and those that might affect sleep.

In Addition To Getting Sufficient Sleep There Are Plenty Of Other Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Dementia Risk


According to Imarisio, there are a few other things that can help stave off cognitive decline in addition to sleep. “While there is no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, there are things within our control that can reduce our risk,” Imarisio said. “The best evidence suggests that not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying mentally and physically active, eating a balanced diet, and keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check can all help to keep our brains healthy as we age.”

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Stage : Mild Dementia

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment

Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:

  • Getting lost easily
  • Noticeably poor performance at work
  • Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
  • Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
  • Losing or misplacing important objects
  • Difficulty concentrating

Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.

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Is It Normal For Those With Dementia Sleep Alot During The Day

People with dementia, especially those in the later stages, can often spend a lot of time sleeping. This can sometimes be worrying for carers, friends and family. Find out why a person with dementia might sleep more than an average person of their age.

It is quite common for a person with dementia, especially in the later stages, to spend a lot of their time sleeping both during the day and night. This can sometimes be distressing for the persons family and friends, as they may worry that something is wrong.

Sleeping more and more is a common feature of later-stage dementia. As the disease progresses, the damage to a persons brain becomes more extensive and they gradually become weaker and frailer over time.

As a result, a person with dementia may find it quite exhausting to do relatively simple tasks like communicating, eating or trying to understand what is going on around them. This can make the person sleep more during the day as their symptoms become more severe.

The later stages of dementia

The later stages of dementia can be a challenging time both for the person experiencing dementia and for those close to them.

Some medications may contribute to sleepiness. These include some anti psychotics, antidepressants, antihistamines and of course sleeping pills. Sleeping disorders unrelated to dementia, such as having breathing that occasionally stops during sleep can also contribute to sleeping for longer.

What should I do if a person with dementia is sleeping a lot?

How Do I Know If Someone With Dementia Is Struggling To Sleep

4 Cardinal Signs of Lewy Body Dementia

Look for changes in the persons behaviour such as frequent waking, getting out of bed and/or increased disorientation or confusion. Deprivation and/or disturbed sleep is also a recognised risk factor for the development of delirium. Sleep can be disturbed by infections, due to an increased need to go to the toilet, dehydration and constipation as the person may be in discomfort. If you suspect these may be present an appointment should be made with the GP to investigate and treat any underlying causes.

If you do not know already, it is important to establish what is the usual pattern for people by asking the person. We are all different and people may have varying sleep patterns and need differing amounts of sleep. It is common for sleep patterns to change as we get older too. It helps to establish regular routines and offer comfort & reassurance. If people are feeling insecure and unsafe, they will feel less able to relax and get to sleep.

If someone gets up in the middle of the night, try to establish any cause for waking and think about sitting with them for a short time in a quiet environment with low lighting before guiding them back to bed. They may need to go to the toilet or be unsure about where they are. Having a night light and a clock which indicates day and night, may help orientate them and reduce distress .

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How Circadian Rhythms Are Affected

The buildup of the protein-comprised plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is thought to cause a disruption in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain.

The suprachiasmatic nucleus is known for its association with maintaining regular sleep patterns via circadian rhythms, though this is mostly based on the presence of light or dark sensory cues. It is difficult to empirically prove that the plaque buildup has an effect on the way circadian rhythms work in dementia patients, mostly because an autopsy is necessary to investigate the presence in the brain. Once a patient has died, they have usually surpassed the stage in which circadian rhythms are affected.

Since a patient is typically in the middle stages of a degenerative brain disease, he or she is usually aware that his or her sleeping habits have become abnormal.

Sleeping For Longer May Be An Early Sign Of Dementia

22 February 2017

Neurology: Prolonged sleep duration as a marker of early neurodegeneration predicting incident dementia

A new study by researchers in the US has suggested that a shift towards longer periods of sleep may indicate the early stages of dementia. The results are published today in the journal Neurology.

The Framingham Heart Study is a large population study that has been following a group of people and their children since 1948, producing a wealth of information about heart disease and other conditions. In this new study, the researchers looked at the existing data to understand how sleep could be linked with dementia. They looked at the self-reported sleep duration of 2,457 people in the study, to see whether variation in how long people sleep for was associated with variation in the risk of developing dementia.

The researchers looked back at how many hours of sleep participants thought they had in a day and how this changed between two points, 13 years apart. Ten years after these sleep assessments, the researchers looked to see who had developed dementia. Over the 10 years of follow up, 234 people in the study developed dementia, of which 181 were diagnosed with Alzheimers disease.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimers Research UK, said:

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How The Brain Cleanses Itself

The brain takes the time in the final hours of sleep to literally take out the trash and clean up, Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, a neuroscientist and sleep specialist at sleep technology company Tatch, told Healthline.

Our brain and body undergo many essential biological functions that only occur during sleep, including clearance of toxic waste products that build up in the brain, Rohrscheib said. The accumulation of a specific type of brain waste called beta-amyloid is thought to be the primary cause of Alzheimers disease.

Most of the removal of beta-amyloid occurs during the deepest stages of sleep, Rohrscheib said. When sleep is restricted to less than seven hours, the brain has less time to clear beta-amyloid away, leading to toxic levels of accumulation and raising the risk of developing Alzheimers.

Faqs About Dementia Sleep Problems

Do you or do you know someone that suffers from sleeping ...

Caring for a patient with dementia and sleep problems is hard work. When the dementia patient is not sleeping well, it is very easy to become exhausted yourself. To give the best care, the carer needs to look after themselves. In addition to the following questions that some people have asked regarding how to get dementia patients to sleep at night, you should visit our guide on caring for someone with dementia.

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What Sleep Disorders Are Common In People With Dementia

People with dementia are frequently affected by sleep disorders. The following sleep disorders are found most often in older adults, but they are seen at even higher rates in people with dementia.

  • Restless legs syndrome : RLS is characterized by an overwhelming desire to move the legs, especially at night. RLS is common in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.
  • Periodic limb movement disorder : PLMD causes uncontrollable movements of the arms and/or legs at night. Many patients with PLMD also have RLS.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea : OSA is a condition marked by nighttime airway collapse leading to brief lapses in breathing. OSA is particularly common with Alzheimers disease, occurring in 40% of patients. Having OSA also increases ones risk of developing dementia.
  • REM sleep behavior disorder: REM sleep behavior disorder causes individuals to act out their dreams, sometimes in dangerous ways. It is most often found in individuals with Lewy body dementia and is sometimes the first symptom that arises with this type of dementia.
  • Depression: Although depression is a mood disorder, it is associated with insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Depression is common in people with dementia, and it is seen at increasing rates as dementia progresses to more severe stages.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

These are characterized by normal sleep patterns that usually happen at random times during the day. These are very common when a person is growing older.

It usually happens because of reduced exposure to natural light, a decrease in physical activity, as well as changes in circadian rhythms that come with aging.

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Another Recent Study Says Getting Less Than Five Hours Of Sleep Could Double Your Risk Of Developing Dementia

Earlier this year, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston College found that even less sleep means an even greater dementia risk. The study, published in the journal Aging in February, compiled data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study on people 65 and older who are eligible for Medicare. The researchers compared 2,810 seniors who got poor sleep to those who slept an average of seven to eight hours a night over the course of five years. They found that people over 65 who reported sleeping less than five hours per night appeared to be twice as likely to develop dementia.

Sleep deficiency at baseline, when the average age of participants was 76 years old, was associated with double the risk of incident dementia and all-cause mortality over the next 4 to 5 years,” Charles Czeisler, MD, a senior author of the study and chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, said in a statement. “These data add to the evidence that sleep is important for brain health and highlight the need for further research on the efficacy of improving sleep and treating sleep disorders on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mortality.”

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Outlook For Vascular Dementia

How to Talk to Someone With Dementia

Vascular dementia will usually get worse over time. This can happen in sudden steps, with periods in between where the symptoms do not change much, but it’s difficult to predict when this will happen.

Home-based help will usually be needed, and some people will eventually need care in a nursing home.

Although treatment can help, vascular dementia can significantly shorten life expectancy.

But this is highly variable, and many people live for several years with the condition, or die from some other cause.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, remember that you’re not alone. The NHS and social services, as well as voluntary organisations, can provide advice and support for you and your family.

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Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia

When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:

  • Delusional behavior

Dementia Often Affects Sleeping Habits

While trying to come up with a conclusive answer to the query do people with dementia sleep a lot, researchers from the University of California conducted a study trying to establish the link between neurodegenerative illnesses and excessive sleepiness.

They found that people who have dementia often experience significant brain cell loss in the parts of the organ that keeps people awake.

The experts published their findings in the Alzheimers & Dementia journal.

They also stated that the over-accumulation of tau proteins is also responsible for triggering these changes in the brain.

These tau proteins form tangles that interfere with communication between impact cell health and brain cells or neurons.

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Professional Help With Dementia Sleep Issues

Dementia is a disease that commonly affects an elderly adults sleep cycle. Experts still dont know precisely why dementia patients dont sleep but believe its linked to brain alterations. Other dementia sleep issues like sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can also make it difficult for loved ones with dementia to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.

If your loved one with dementia struggles with sleep and youre wondering how to keep dementia patients in bed at night, you may want to try:

  • Keeping them on a consistent schedule
  • Ensuring they exercise regularly
  • Creating a calming nighttime routine

Theres also overnight dementia care for family caregivers looking for professional, hands-on assistance.

Stowell Associates in Wisconsin is a premier in-home dementia care provider. We train and equip both our Care Managers and Caregivers to handle the demands of dementia care. With our 24-hour care service, your loved one will receive the best care during the day and nighttime hours. It will also provide you with peace of mind knowing your loved one is receiving the care they need.

Contact us today to talk with a Care Advisor. Theyll help you better understand all the benefits of full-time dementia care.

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And Finally Do Everything You Can To Promote Relaxation

Sleeping on a Silk Pillowcase does a lot more than you ...

Create a restful environment in the evening and stick to a night-time routine. During mid-stage to advanced dementia there is advice that suggests someone with dementia shouldn’t watch TV or read a book as they can find this difficult and become frustrated playing soft music may be a better alternative. You could even try reading to them. The bedroom should be comfortable, not too hot, not too cold and with cosy, breathable bedding.

Find more general tips for elderly parents on how to get a better nights sleep.

If you care for someone with dementia, you may want to consider a system like the CPR Guardian Smartwatch. This light and stylish watch is often preferred by elderly relatives who are used to wearing a watch every day. The CPR Guardian can pair with a carers smartphone, enabling them to find out the wearers GPS location and communicate with the wearer directly through the watch. The watch also comes with an SOS button that alerts the carer directly when pressed. It can even monitor the wearers heart rate! All of these features mean that there is always a way to keep track of your relative with dementia, make sure theyre okay, and be alerted if there is ever a problem.

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