Sleep Disorders And Dementia
Some common sleep disorders have a tie to dementia.
Insomnia. When you donât get enough sleep, parts of your brain change. Some of these areas are related to Alzheimerâs disease.
And research shows youâre more likely to be diagnosed with dementia if you have primary insomnia. Thatâs when your lack of sleep isnât caused by something else, like depression or drug use.
Your chances of getting Alzheimerâs disease go up if you have primary insomnia and you haven’t reached age 40.
Obstructed sleep apnea . You may have a higher chance of getting dementia if you have this. Itâs when the muscles in your throat relax when you sleep. If you canât breathe very well at night, your brain canât get enough air. Thatâs called hypoxia. Youâll also have broken sleep if you wake up gasping for breath.
If you have these things, it could lead to:
- Problems staying focused
- Slower motor movements that can affect moves like picking things up and writing
- Getting dementia at an earlier-than-normal age
- More serious brain issues
- Other health conditions, like stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure
Circadian rhythm problems. People with dementia may have a shift in their sleep-wake cycle. That means theyâll feel sleepy during the day and awake at night.
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:
My Mum Suffers From Dementia And Excessive Sleep She Sleeps During The Day And Sleeps Very Little At Night Is It Ok To Let Her Sleep All Day
If possible we recommend encouraging her to take fewer and shorter day time naps, at the same time and place if possible . Keeping to a routine full of activities can help keep her awake during the day, and work some way towards night-time sleep problems. Try regularly getting her up for short walks and maximise daylight in rooms. Sensitively wake her up if she does fall asleep outside of a routine nap time.
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Is Excessive Sleeping Part Of The Vascular Dementia Stages
My mother is sleeping all night and virtually all day apart from a couple of hours. Does this happen as part of one of the stages?
She is not incontinent or aggressive and eats well when she is awake. She hasn’t forgotten our names but is starting to forget places , for example, she didn’t recognise the town she was brought up in and her short term memory is appalling.
I just don’t know what stage she is at, she was diagnosed about 4 years ago.
My husband has vascular dementia diagnosed 3 years ago. He is sleeps 11 hours at night and sleeps away most of the day in his chair. He doesnt want to be bothered to wake up. This scares me and Im not sure if I should try to keep him awake or just let him sleep.
My Mother does this too. After meals, right back to bed or her recliner. I was scared meds needed adjusting but it’s progression of disorder. This is everyday except when she agrees to let me take her to a local Sr Center for lunch with friends. We have games, puzzles, etc. She refuses any outdoor activity.
My husband was diagnosed 4 years ago too, He sleeps alot too. He’ll go to sleep about 7:30 and sleep until 9 or 10. Takes naps in afternoon too.
The other Day mom asked for a cup of tea before she went to bed for the night.her Doctor prescribed medicine to help her sleep.I heard sleep time tea with camomile is Good.
Tau: A Direct Driver Of Cognitive Decline
In the study, Dr. Grinberg and the team analyzed the brains of 13 deceased people who had Alzheimers disease, as well as those of seven deceased individuals who had not experienced clinical neurodegeneration. The researchers obtained these samples from UCSFs Neurodegenerative Disease Brain Bank.
The team found that, in comparison with healthy brains, those affected by Alzheimers disease had a high level of tau across three regions that are key to staying awake, namely the locus coeruleus, the lateral hypothalamic area, and the tuberomammillary nucleus. Not only this, but these regions had actually lost 75% of their neurons.
Its remarkable because its not just a single brain nucleus thats degenerating, but the whole wakefulness-promoting network, notes the studys lead author, Jun Oh.
Crucially, this means that the brain has no way to compensate because all of these functionally related cell types are being destroyed at the same time, Oh explains.
For further clarification, the researchers went on to conduct a postmortem analysis of brain samples from seven people who had progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal disease. These are two forms of dementia that are characterized specifically by the overaccumulation of tau protein.
In these samples, the scientists did not find the same loss of neurons in areas connected with states of wakefulness, which suggests that this destructive loss may only occur in Alzheimers disease.
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Create An Environment That Is Conducive To Sleep
Make the bedroom a place made just for sleeping. Use the room only for sleeping if you start to play or work in there, your mind wont automatically shift to sleep mode when youre in bed. Your bed should be used for sleeping only.
Keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible when you should be sleeping and adjust the temperature to something you like. If the bed is uncomfortable, find the problem and fix it as best as you can. There are mattress pads and special pillows available for all types of sleepers. Its just a matter of finding what works for you or your loved one.
Alzheimers And Sleep Disorders: Expert Answers To 6 Common Questions
Sleep issues are a well-documented symptom of many types of dementia, particularly Alzheimers disease. This presents a serious challenge for families. If a loved one with dementia isnt sleeping, then neither is their caregiver.
Quite often, the lack of sleep is what first causes a family caregiver to consider placing a loved one in a facility, says Maureen Bradley, LPN, Certified Dementia Practitioner, director of Alzheimers care programs at several skilled nursing facilities run by Royal Health Group in New England.
Sleep deprived caregivers are often plagued by many of the same questions about their loved ones odd sleeping habits: How do I get Dad to sleep through the night? Why does my loved one sleep all day? Why does Mom get so anxious around dinner time? Dementia experts provide answers to these and other common questions below.
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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.
- 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.
Causes Of Sleep Challenges With Alzheimers/dementia
People with Alzheimers and other dementias lose their circadian rhythm, explained above as our internal sense of night and day. This means that even in the evening someone might believe its morning and therefore not an appropriate time to go to bed. Someone exhausted from a long day can lose the ability to understand when its time to sleep, and so despite a tired body sending signals craving bedtime, a dementia-racked mind will override those signals. The result of this is aggravation and anxiety. Wandering and even yelling at night is not uncommon.
There are other common reasons someone with dementia has trouble sleeping. As the sense of reality deteriorates, less lighting means more shadows can make the environment frightening. Restless leg syndrome, common for people with dementia, causes unpleasant crawling or tingling sensations and strikes typically during periods of rest, especially at night.
Another important factor for caregivers to consider is that their loved one may be sensitive to nonverbal cues indicating frustration at the end of a long day. It would be ideal to mellow as nighttime approaches, but caregiving is stressful, and if the day has been difficult it can be hard to hide its effects. This can cause an aggravated response in someone with dementia, and make it more difficult to go to sleep.
Sleep Apnea and Alzheimers/Dementia
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What Can Help Someone With Dementia Sleep Better
Sleep hygiene is the primary treatment for sleep concerns in people with dementia. Sleep hygiene is a collection of practices and environmental considerations that promote good sleep quality. The following sleep hygiene tips may help a person with dementia improve their sleep patterns:
Some of these sleep hygiene practices may be difficult for someone with dementia. For example, it may not be possible to control the bedroom noise level in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Consider adding a white noise machine to mask outside noise. A person with dementia may also have a difficult time maintaining a regular bedtime due to napping or varied daily activities, but keeping wake time consistent can still help to stabilize the circadian rhythm. A physician or sleep specialist is in a good position to provide individualized sleep hygiene recommendations for a specific situation.
They Wake Up A Lot During The Night To Use The Loo And I’m Worried They May Get Lost Or Confused Should I Wake Up Too To Help Them
It is normal that older people will need to use the loo more often during the night. This can be difficult if a person also has dementia as they might forget why they’re up, where the toilet is or that they should go back to bed. Start by looking at your parents drinking and eating habits. If they are eating and drinking large amounts in the evening this will increase the need for them to visit the toilet. Limit their intake from late afternoon and enjoy a main meal at lunch. Next make the route to and from the toilet as clear as possible by using signs and plug-in nightlights. Try using pictures if it helps. It might also help to make the lights in the bathroom motion activated for when they get there. If you are still worried or you find they still get lost, it may be that you will have to help them. A monitor or bed-exit sensor will help you to wake up when you need to.
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Why Does Dementia Affect Sleep
Problems with sleep are very common for people with dementia. They can include:
- sleeping during the day and being awake and restless during the night
- becoming disorientated in the dark if they wake up to use the toilet
- waking up more often and staying awake longer during the night
- getting up in the early hours and thinking its day time or time to go to work
- not being able to tell the difference between night and day.
Nobody completely understands why dementia affects sleeping patterns. For some people, it may be that their internal biological clock, which judges what time it is, becomes damaged so the person starts to feel sleepy at the wrong time of day.
There are also other parts of the brain which control whether or not we stay awake, and these may also not work properly if they become damaged.
Sometimes a person with dementia might completely reverse their normal sleep pattern, staying up all night and then sleeping all day.
It’s common for people with dementia, especially in the later stages, to spend a lot of their time sleeping
Coping Mechanisms For People With Dementia Who Sleep A Lot
Family members and caregivers can worry a lot when a loved one with dementia starts to sleep a lot.
There are a few practical steps you can take to make the situation a little better depending on the cause of the sleepiness.
For instance, if a person with dementia is sleeping a lot because of disease progression, there is not much you can do.
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Treatment For Sleep Changes And Disturbances In Dementia Patients
Treatment for sleep disturbances in dementia patients depends on their cause. Although sleeping aids can be given to improve sleep, treating the underlying condition can achieve better results.
For example, caregivers can improve the sleeping environment for the patient, ensuring proper temperature and lighting to promote sleep. Patients should also be treated for other medical conditions that may be interfering with their sleep.
It is also important to keep patients on a regular schedule with minimal changes . For example, keep a consistent bedtime, ensure the patients do not sleep throughout the day by keeping them busy, and ensure they are sleeping in the same room night after night.
As a caregiver, you can work with the patients doctor in order to develop a treatment plan that best suits the patient in order to promote sleep.
Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University . He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine , and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.
Depression And Psychological Distress
Psychological distress manifested as daytime anxiety and stress is a common cause of transient insomnia. However, depression, often the result of more serious life events such as divorce or the death of a loved one, can trigger long-lasting, chronic insomnia. It has long been known that depression and insomnia are associated with each other , as the presence of depressed mood may predict insomnia and, conversely, untreated insomnia may result in depression , and having insomnia at baseline is a significant predictor of developing depression one to three years later . A large study of more than two thousand community-dwelling older men, , confirmed these associations, finding that those with depression subjectively and objectively had greater sleep disturbances . Older women with insomnia seem to be especially susceptible to depression . Studies in younger adults have suggested that treating the insomnia might also improve depression , but these types of studies have not been conducted in the elderly.
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How Does Sleep Affect Dementia Risk
Experts suggest that sleep and dementia may share a bidirectional relationship. This means that while sleep could affect dementia risk and symptoms, the presence or absence of dementia also affects sleep quality. For example, one of the first Alzheimers disease symptoms in the brain is the accumulation of a protein called amyloid-beta, which eventually forms clumps called amyloid plaques. Animal studies and a small study in people have shown sleep deprivation to increase the levels of amyloid-beta in the brain. At the same time, Alzheimers patients with amyloid plaques have been shown to have worse sleep quality than Alzheimers patients who do not have amyloid plaques.
Additionally, sleep is known to be critical for our cognitive functioning and memory formation. Observational studies have shown that sleep issues are associated with cognitive decline and dementia. However, these studies do not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Although more research is needed to better understand sleep and dementia risk, there are many proven steps you can take to improve your sleep.
Why Do Alzheimer Patients Sleep So Much
Are you aware of the degenerative condition affecting the brain cells called Alzheimers disease? It is a type of dementia that affects a patients life tremendously. You can see them on TV or in the movies being portrayed as people who lose their memory and ability to speak and think for themselves. Some people may even have first-hand information about this since a loved one already has developed Alzheimers. But you may begin to question, why do Alzheimer patients sleep so much? How has this condition impacted their daily activities and their outlook on life?
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