Sleeping the Day Away

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Visit a home for memory care and you will find residents dozing off at all hours of the day. If they have Alzheimer’s, the more advanced they are in the disease, the more they sleep. There are several possible reasons for this.

The first suspect outsiders often jump to is inappropriate medication. Too high a dose, a change in medication, or the wrong prescription may be the problem, but probably it is not if the person with Alzheimer’s is receiving good medical attention.

Sleep patterns commonly alter with age, but most likely, the increase of day sleep is due to the progression of the disease. Alzheimer’s affects all parts of the brain, including the center for sleep control. The ability to regulate sleep diminishes. And if someone cannot sleep soundly through the night, they will be tired during the day. Interestingly, studies show that poor sleep is evident in people who are suspected to have Alzheimer’s prior to obvious symptoms.

Also, more effort is progressively needed for even the simplest activities. Think about how physically exhausting it is when trying to master an intellectual concept way beyond you. For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, this is how it is for every activity. When they no longer have any idea how to shower or eat, can’t identify their personal belongings or the people they see every day,  or remember where they are, the stress rapidly depletes their energy.

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

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