Is Frequent Napping an Early Sign of Dementia?

Dementia is a condition marked by loss of memory, language issues, or problem-solving ability. It is frequently linked to aging but can sometimes impact people during other phases of life. Cognitive concerns can lead to confusion and the inability to complete simple tasks. While much is not understood about this disease, research strives to better understand what causes dementia and the early warning signs. Understanding more about this condition can help improve treatments and perhaps delay it.

Increased Napping and Dementia

Many healthy adults take naps. In fact, napping is an excellent way to increase energy levels and provide the body with rest that is desperately needed throughout the day. As you age, you may notice that you nap more often. While this may just be your body’s indication that it needs more rest, it’s important to note how often you nap throughout the day. It’s especially important to track how often you nap and how long those naps last. For instance, when your naps start to double in time, it may be time to discuss them with your doctor.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to nap occasionally, too often could cause concern. Studies indicate that napping may be an early sign of dementia when the timing of the naps increases and becomes more frequent than just a few times a week.

The study in question was largely based on the data collected from wrist-worn actigraphy. It’s important to note that the device alerted to no activity. This could mean that the person was simply inactive but may have also indicated sleep. The result was that the test participants were 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s if they remained inactive during frequent times throughout the day. Additionally, the tested population was individuals ages 74-88, which was limited to only elderly populations. Still, it’s critical to see the correlation between nonactivity and health concerns.

Create Healthy Sleep Patterns Early

Regular sleep is critical to healthy body function. Even if you aren’t a chronic napper, it’s never too soon to establish proper sleep hygiene. Create a routine of going to sleep around the same time every night, sleeping a full eight hours, and waking up around the same time each day. Remember to prepare your place of rest with limited light and sound, with comfortable temperatures. Establishing a good sleep routine could help you identify changes in your sleep patterns more easily.