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What to look for?

Sleep Disturbances | Common Signs

  • Goes to bed earlier than usual
  • Goes to bed later than usual
  • Takes longer to fall asleep at bedtime
  • Is restless during sleep (tosses and turns) (This might be an example of the symptom of generalized restlessness.)
  • Has vivid or disturbing dreams
  • Wakes one or more times during the night (other than to use the bathroom)
  • Has difficulty getting back to sleep after waking late at night
  • Gets out of bed and wanders late at night. (This can also be part of the symptom of wandering)
  • Wakes and starts day earlier than usual in the morning (e.g. 4am)
  • Is confused upon waking (not sure where he or she is; says things which do not make sense)
  • Is reluctant to get out of bed in the morning
  • Is napping more in the daytime
Sleep Disturbances | General Description

Sleep disturbances are common in dementia. Alzheimer's disease causes disturbances to normal, healthy sleeping patterns. In dementia with Lewy bodies , daytime sleepiness is a supportive diagnostic feature, and specific REM sleep behaviour disorder is sometimes part of the picture. The changes may vary, and the person you care for may either be sleeping too much or too little. The person you care for may have changes in the amount of sleep they get each night. They may be going to bed or getting up either later or earlier than normal. It is common for the person you care for to have difficulty with their sleeping. They often wakeup in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep or get out of bed and wander. The person you care for also may be spending increasing amounts of time in bed. They may refuse to get up, or take many long naps during the day.

The first step in taking a more active role in symptom management is understanding how a symptom is affecting everyday life; the next step is communicating this knowledge to the care planning team and family members. SymptomGuideTM is designed with these goals in mind.

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See Also:
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Restlessness
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Wandering
Symptom Library > Personality Changes > Low Mood
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Delusions and Paranoia
About Dementia > Working with your Doctor > Specialist Referrals
About Dementia > Types of Dementia > Delirium
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Exercise Program
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Last updated January 13, 2019
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