Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability due to disease or injury. This can include memory loss, difficulties with language, problem-solving, and changes in mood. As the disease progresses, people with dementia may also have difficulty sleeping properly. They may sleep during the day and be up at night, or they may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. One of the most common questions we get asked as specialised dementia caregivers is, “Why do people with dementia sleep so much?” It’s a valid question and one that has a few different answers. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why people with dementia may sleep more than usual.
Reasons why people with dementia sleep so much
There are a few possible explanations for why people with dementia sleep more than usual. One reason may be that dementia can cause fatigue. The disease causes changes in the brain that make it harder to stay awake during the day. Dementia makes it difficult for a person to regulate their energy levels, which can lead to excessive sleeping.
Another possibility is that people with dementia often feel tired because they are not able to get enough exercise or they are not eating a balanced diet.
Some medications can sometimes cause drowsiness. Many people living with dementia are sometimes prescribed certain medications, which can cause fatigue, leading to increased sleep.
Sleep patterns often change as we get older, and this is especially true for people with dementia. Older adults tend to sleep for shorter periods of time but more frequently, and this can contribute to increased daytime sleepiness.
If you are caring for someone with dementia who is having difficulty sleeping, there are a few things you can do to help. First, try to create a calm and relaxed environment at bedtime by dimming the lights and playing soft music. It can also be helpful to establish a regular bedtime routine, including activities such as reading or taking a bath. If you’re concerned about the amount of sleep your loved one with dementia is getting, talk to their doctor about possible side effects of their medications or whether there might be changes in their sleep pattern due to their age or condition. In the meantime, try to create a restful environment and ensure they’re staying hydrated and eating regular meals. With a little TLC, you can help your loved one get the rest they need.