Dementia describes a group of symptoms associated with ongoing cognitive decline. There are many different types of this mind-numbing condition, with Lewy body dementia being the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. This is caused by the development of protein deposits called Lewy bodies in nerve cells in areas of the brain involved in thought, memory, and movement.
Whether you just can’t sleep or wake up from a nightmare in the middle of the night, everyone suffers from a bad night’s sleep from time to time.
However, if your partner or roommates frequently complain that you scream or kick while you sleep deeply, this could be a warning sign of dementia.
Evelina Sabonaityte, physician and clinical nutritionist, said: “People with dementia may have difficulty processing complex emotions or experiences from past events due to memory loss or cognitive decline associated with disease progression.
“As a result, these people may try to express themselves through physical actions instead of verbal communication, as these memories become more tangible during sleep states such as REM. [rapid eye movement] sleep, when dreams occur most often.
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REM sleep, one of the five stages of sleep, usually begins about 90 minutes after you fall asleep.
Dreams at this stage are usually more vivid, fantastic, or even bizarre.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Lewy body dementia can lead to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder, which means you begin to physically experience vivid, often unpleasant dreams with vocal sounds and sudden movements.
Sabonitete said: “These people may exhibit similar behaviors during sleep, such as talking loudly in bed or making movements that indicate the completion of a task related to what they are dreaming about at the moment.”
Patients with this disorder may start punching, kicking, screaming, and screaming in their sleep.
A review published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that at least one form of sleep disturbance is commonly present in 90% of people with Lewy body dementia.
The study was based on 70 articles, including 20 studies on subjective sleep.
The National Health Service recommends that you see your GP if you have any symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies.
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The health service states: “If you are concerned about someone else, suggest that they make an appointment with a general practitioner and perhaps offer to go with them.
“The doctor may do a few simple checks to try to find out the cause of your symptoms and may refer you to a specialist for further testing.”
In addition to sleep problems, Lewy body dementia also causes typical symptoms, including problems with:
- Thinking speed
- visual perception
- Memory (significant memory loss may occur later).
How to reduce the risk of dementia
While some risk factors, such as your age and genetics, are non-negotiable, others can be easily changed.
From a healthy diet to regular exercise, living a healthy lifestyle is one of the best dementia defenses you can add to your arsenal.
When it comes to diet, the NHS recommends eating a healthy, balanced diet while controlling your intake of saturated fat, salt, and sugar.
In addition, other measures, such as quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, can also help reduce the risk.