Good sleep may improve symptoms in people with dementia

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from the University of Surrey and elsewhere found that how well people with dementia sleep can affect their symptoms the following day.

Moreover, their sleep continuity or the extent to which they can stay asleep after initially falling asleep can lead to better days.

The research is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring and was conducted by Dr. Sara Balouch et al.

In the study, the team found that night-to-night variations in sleep predict day-to-day variations in symptoms of dementia, more so than in people without cognitive impairment.

They suggest that it may be possible to optimize time in bed and sleep continuity, to improve daytime symptoms in people living with dementia.

In the study, over a two-week period, the team assessed sleep in people living with dementia and assessed their daytime cognition and dementia symptoms.

They found that sleep continuity was among the most predictive aspects of next-day symptoms.

Sleep continuity refers to the extent to which one can stay asleep after initially falling asleep. When people spend too much time in bed, however, sleep continuity actually decreases.

The team found that increased sleep continuity was related to feeling more alert, fewer everyday memory errors and fewer caregiver-reported memory and behavioral problems.

However, it was also related to reduced ability to conduct a subtraction task the next morning, which might have something to do with sleep inertia (a state of impaired cognitive performance immediately the following sleep).

The researchers suggest that there is an optimal time in bed such that sleep is sufficiently long and continuous.

This interpretation can be tested in interventional studies in which for each person living with dementia.

If you care about dementia, please read studies that taller men have a lower dementia risk, and this MIND diet may protect your cognitive function, prevent dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that antioxidants may protect you from dementia, and results showing this eye surgery may reduce dementia risk.

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