Memory Care

Why Is Your Senior Loved One With Dementia Not Sleeping Well?

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Memory Care

Memory Care

Many of us will have experienced not being able to sleep well becoming a nightmare. For people living with dementia, not getting enough sleep can be problematic and can affect their quality of life, and that of their caretakers. If you are confused about helping your senior loved one with dementia sleep properly, this guide shared by our memory care and dementia care experts can help you.

Why Dementia Patients Don’t Get Good Sleep? 

Depending on the stage of dementia your senior loved one is going through, sleep patterns can vary from sleeping too much to sleeping too little. With the progress of dementia, it is not out of the ordinary for sleep patterns to deteriorate. The trickier part is that dementia can make it tough for your loved one to convey what is wrong. For instance, your senior loved one might not be able to tell that they are in pain. This makes it even more important to notice other types of communication like body language and facial expression. Some of the reasons for dementia patients not sleeping well are outlined below.

Changes In Brain 

The disruption to the circadian rhythm of the body can negatively impact our sleep-wake cycle. This disruption can make it difficult for people living with dementia to understand if it is night or day. Another reason for sleeplessness in dementia patients is sundowning. It can make it difficult for people with dementia to calm down after an episode of acute confusion or anxiety.


Your senior loved one with dementia might be taking many medications to manage the condition and other health issues. Some medications that are used to treat dementia disorders can result in dream disturbances and night-time stimulation, making it difficult for the person to sleep.

Light Disturbances 

Light disturbances in sleeping areas like landing lights being left on can confuse your senior loved one as to whether it is night or day, leading to sleeplessness and night-time wandering.

Untreated Pain 

Pain in the body, especially joint pain can be a part of advanced aging. As your senior loved one with dementia will not be able to communicate properly about the pain, it can go untreated, which can result in uncomfortable nocturnal disorders.


For people suffering from dementia, waking up from a dream can be confusing. Distinguishing between reality and dream can be very difficult for dementia sufferers, making it harder to fall back to sleep.

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