There is some evidence that Alzheimer’s disease may increase napping, and that this, in turn, may worsen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
This finding comes from a study of
Likewise, this increase in napping due to Alzheimer’s had associations with worsened thinking abilities 1 year later.
Read on to learn more about the link between napping and Alzheimer’s disease, including whether it can be a symptom, whether napping can cause Alzheimer’s, and how much sleep people with Alzheimer’s should get.
Excessive napping could be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, if it occurs alongside other potential symptoms, such as memory loss.
Napping alone does not directly cause Alzheimer’s, but excessive napping could be a risk factor. This means it may elevate the risk a person will develop the condition but not guarantee it.
Cognitive impairment can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.
Naps may have neutral or even positive effects on a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but it depends on their duration.
As the above
As with other studies, the authors of the 2021 study noted that longer naps had a negative effect on cognition, but it is unclear why.
If studies on napping and cognitive decline are accurate, it
Most adults, including older adults, require approximately
However, sleep schedules can be different for those with Alzheimer’s. It may cause a person to feel too sleepy in the daytime or too awake at night.
- Physical activity: Try to help the person get exercise and get outdoors every day. Schedule busy activities away from a person’s sleep. For example, time for socializing or eating the main meal of the day could be around lunchtime instead of the evening.
- Limit caffeine: Switch to decaffeinated versions of tea, coffee, or soda.
- Limit naps: Daytime naps may make it harder for a person to sleep at night. If they have gotten into a routine of daytime napping, try to gradually reduce this, 30 minutes or an hour at a time, until they sleep more regularly at night and less during the day.
- Bedtime routine: Maintain a regular bedtime routine to help the person get to sleep. This could include activities such as reading, listening to the radio or audiobooks, or having a bath. Try to do this routine at the same time every evening.
- Set a peaceful mood: This could include playing soothing music, dimming the lights, and avoiding the use of screens. If the person is likely to get up in the night, keep the lights dim or use nightlights in the bedroom or hallways.
People who are concerned about excessive napping or daytime sleepiness that has lasted more than
There are many reasons why a person could have this symptom. If they do not have signs of Alzheimer’s, they could be experiencing a sleep disorder, side effects from medication, or another underlying condition. A doctor will be able to help identify the root cause.
If a person has a family history of Alzheimer’s, they may also benefit from speaking with a doctor about ways to lower the risk.
There may be a
However, researchers do not yet understand why this is. Some research indicates that naps could be beneficial for cognitive decline if they are short, lasting
To an extent, it is typical for older adults to take more naps than younger adults, but excessive sleepiness could be a sign of an underlying condition. If someone appears to feel overly tired for
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