CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — With Daylight Saving Time approaching, many people lose sleep over the time shift. But doctors say people with Alzheimer’s and dementia are even more vulnerable to the sudden adjustment.
Officials with the Alzheimer’s Association said sleeping problems are common with people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. They estimate 45 percent of all dementia patients have sleeping problems.
Officials warn that lack of sleep worsens symptoms of both diseases, including waking up too early, daytime fatigue, and difficulty falling asleep.
“Research has shown us that not getting enough sleep because of insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking and increase the risk for Alzheimer’s-related brain changes,” Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer’s Association chief science officer, said. “Findings show that disrupted sleep patterns not only put the overall health of people with dementia at further risk, they may also worsen their memory loss and disrupted thinking.”
About 230,000 people in Illinois have Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Experts say the best practices to adjust to the new time shift is to limit caffeine and alcohol, adjust the sleep schedule gradually, make a more comfortable sleeping environment, and provide exposure to natural light.
Daylight Saving Time is March 12, where clocks will spring forward one hour.