It is common for Dementia patients to have irregular sleeping patterns. Some tend to sleep a lot, whereas others do not sleep adequately. Either way, I understand that you are concerned about your family member and want to help.
Dementia is an umbrella term for several neurodegenerative diseases. Mainly, Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal Dementia. Both have similar symptoms, but Frontotemporal Dementia is diagnosed at a relatively young age (40s and 50s).
Moreover, both Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal Dementia can cause a patient to sleep a lot (both during the day and night). You must consult a doctor if an elderly family member is showing the aforementioned symptoms.
What Stage of Dementia Are You in When You Sleep Most Of the Day?
According to a report by the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s patients in the later stages of the condition tend to sleep a lot. They sleep for more than someone of their age.
Declining cognitive activity is speculated to be the primary reason behind increased sleep. In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, the patient feels tired and jaded all the time. As a result, they spend most of their time on their bed or a couch.
A study by Stuart J McCarter and his associates concludes that insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness is common in patients with Frontotemporal Dementia. Note that the study does not mention at what stage the patient begins to show these symptoms.
Fragmented sleep in dementia patients can also affect caregivers or family members of the patient. As the disease progresses the patient begins to suffer from other sleep-related conditions like sleep-disordered breathing and restless leg syndrome. Here is some good news— excessive daytime sleepiness can be treated.
Daytime sleepiness and drowsiness can be managed upon medical intervention. Medical professionals advise caregivers to help the patient live an active and engaging life— which includes short morning walks, socializing, watching comedy movies, etc.
Not only that but non-pharmacological interventions have shown tremendous improvements in sleep symptoms, suggest a study by Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Constantine Lyketsos and his associate sleep scientists recommend bright light therapy for dementia patients who sleep a lot.
To sum things up, dementia patients in the later stages of the condition tend to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness. As the condition progresses, their brain cells begin to deteriorate, making them slow, sluggish, and sleepy. Treatment methods like bright light therapy and stimulus control can boost their energy level.