MSD Manual

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Sleep Disorders in Dementia

By

Richard J. Schwab

, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Division of Sleep Medicine

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020
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People with dementia may also have disorders that contribute to sleep problems. Disorders such as arthritis, dehydration, and infections may cause pain or discomfort, interfering with sleep. Use of certain drugs or interactions between drugs may also interfere with sleep.

Treatment of Sleep Disorders in Dementia

  • Treatment of the underlying disorder

  • General measures

Treatment of the dementia or any underlying disorder causing pain or discomfort may help improve sleep.

The following general measures may help:

  • Not taking or taking fewer naps during the day because naps may make sleeping at night more difficult

  • Walking outside in the sunshine

  • Exercising

  • Keeping the temperature in the bedroom comfortable

  • Not consuming beverages or foods that contain caffeine or alcohol during the evening

Drugs to aid sleep (sedatives) cause confusion, falls, and agitation in people with dementia and are not used.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
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Test your knowledge

Bell Palsy
Bell palsy is sudden weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face due to malfunction of the seventh cranial nerve. This nerve moves facial muscles, stimulates salivary and tear glands, detects tastes, and controls a muscle involved in hearing. Which of the following is often the first symptom of Bell palsy?
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