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What causes sleep pattern changes when suffering from Alzheimer"s disease?

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Posted on Sat, 5 Apr 2014
Question: Hi....my wife of 62 years is in a Rehabilitation with Alzheimer"s disease and about to months ago have change her patern of sleep .Sleep during the day and stay awake during the nighit.She may have breakfast and Lunch and after lunch fall to sleep until one or two in the morning and so on. I need a good ADVICE I know my wife have no solution in her disease, Thanks for now THANKS XXXX
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Answered by Dr. Praveen (4 hours later)
Brief Answer: Ambien can regularize sleep pattern Detailed Answer: Hi.Thanks for writing on HCM. People with Alzheimer's disease(AD) commonly experience changes in sleep pattern which results in being awake during night and difficulty in falling asleep at night which we call difficulty sleeping.I would like to reaffirm that this sleep pattern can be brought to near normal though we donot have a definitive cure for Alzheimer's.Symptomatic management will definitely improve the quality of life and nothing to worry. In case of difficulty sleeping I would always check for depression which is commonly associated with AD. If depression is present then I prefer starting on antidepressants like Nortriptyline/olanzapine. In the absence of depression Ambien (Zolpidem) is a good choice to enhance night time sleep, regularize sleep pattern and improve memory.Further improving the quality of night time sleep minimizes sleep during the day.Starting dose is 5mg and has to be taken at once per night and before bedtime. Hope this answers your query and she gets well soon.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Dr. Praveen

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 1055 Questions

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What causes sleep pattern changes when suffering from Alzheimer"s disease?

Brief Answer: Ambien can regularize sleep pattern Detailed Answer: Hi.Thanks for writing on HCM. People with Alzheimer's disease(AD) commonly experience changes in sleep pattern which results in being awake during night and difficulty in falling asleep at night which we call difficulty sleeping.I would like to reaffirm that this sleep pattern can be brought to near normal though we donot have a definitive cure for Alzheimer's.Symptomatic management will definitely improve the quality of life and nothing to worry. In case of difficulty sleeping I would always check for depression which is commonly associated with AD. If depression is present then I prefer starting on antidepressants like Nortriptyline/olanzapine. In the absence of depression Ambien (Zolpidem) is a good choice to enhance night time sleep, regularize sleep pattern and improve memory.Further improving the quality of night time sleep minimizes sleep during the day.Starting dose is 5mg and has to be taken at once per night and before bedtime. Hope this answers your query and she gets well soon.