My husband with dementia is sleeping a lot more lately. Does this signal something?


My husband with dementia seems to be sleeping a lot more lately during the day ; in the car, in his chair, etc. does this signal something? Still sleeping all night.

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It must be exhausting for an individual with dementia.
When in early or mid stages trying to cope with activity around you, trying to remember the things that you know you are supposed to know. Trying to remember all the steps to brush your teeth, how to put on a shirt. And that's just first thing in the morning when the brain is fresh.
Sleeping is common and as he declines he will sleep more.
It could also be a side effect of some medications.
It could also be that he may not be sleeping well at night. He may be awake but stay in bed, it could be that he is afraid, does not know where he is, you are, what room he is in. (I just wish I could get into my husbands head for a little while to see what it feels like.)
My guess is that it is an indication of a decline.
I did notice that before a larger decline he would sleep more. I compared my husbands declines rather like walking down stairs. Rather than a steady decline like with many Alzheimer's where is could be compared to walking down a hill his was like walking down stairs where there would be a large drop in ability then it would be gradual then a drop again. (This is why I think it is also vascular dementia)
Next time you see the doctor mention the increased sleeping to him or her. It could also be a sign of depression. (Heck I would be depressed if I knew I had dementia!)
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About 3 months before he passed, my dad began sleeping a lot. He could not keep track of the time of day and barely ate anything. Once hospice was called in, only a few days before he passed, they explained that the dying process had begun with the sleeping a lot and withdrawing from the world 3 months before. I wish I would have known that when it began.
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It could mean a lot of things. It MIGHT signal a decline. I believe with dementia that sleeping more than 20 hours a day may suggest the suitability for a hospice evaluation. Does your husband's sleep amount approach that?

Excessive daytime sleepiness (but not as extreme as 20 hours) can be a symptom of the dementia. My husband took meds both to sleep at night and meds to stay awake during the day. This worked for us for years.

It can also be at least partly from lack of stimulation, exercise, and interesting things to do.

The thing I can say for certain is that it is important to have a doctor who understands dementia following your husband and to discuss all new symptoms as they arise with that doctor. In this case, journal your husband's sleep pattern for a couple of weeks, and then share it with the doctor.
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The sleeping habits of individuals living with dementia can often change. Some sleep more while others are up all night. Like my your husband, my mother used to nap frequently during the day. I assumed that this was due to the natural progression of her disease or the lack of stimulating activities. We discovered through a simple blood test that she had an underactive thyroid which is being treated medically. Mom is now more alert, more engaged and no longer napping during the day. I suggest that you have your husband's thyroid function checked.
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This is something I found out while in the nursing home for rehab. My mother was admitted to the hospital in May for change in mental status after living with me for 5 + yrs. and was diagnosed with dementia in 1995. She will be 94 next month. The dementia was a slow progression but I noticed things with her living with me such as sleeping during the day, getting up to go to the bathroom in the afternoon several times within the hour, then back to dozing off and she slept at night (I thought). The hospital transferred her to rehab in the nursing home as they have a rehab wing there and it was there that I finally found out what mom had. I was surprised because I had never heard of this before, it is called "Sundowner's Alzheimer". I googled it and it made me think and explains a lot. I believe she had this for quite some time as I heard her get up several times during the night but in the morning she was sound asleep. The part that queued me in was she started talking to herself at night. She is now in long term care in the Nursing Home as she can no longer stand up on her own and stays awake all night. She sleeps during the day. He may have Sundowner's Alzheimer but only a physician can verify if it is the start of that. It is so hard to see a loved one go through this......
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smcbeth, may I ask how old is your husband? I noticed as we get up in years that we tend to nap more. My parents back when they were in their 80's, after we had dinner, they would doze off in front of the TV, or on a car trip. In their 90's, even more so.
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