People with dementia often have issues with sleep with their memory seemingly worse after a bad night. However, the evidence is unclear on whether poor sleep is a risk factor for dementia.
The relationship between dementia and sleep
Sleep and dementia is a complicated topic. Different types of dementia are associated with different sleep problems. Researchers are also not yet sure which way the interaction goes – whether poor sleep causes or exacerbates dementia or if dementia leads to poor sleep. Some researchers believe that both of these theories could be true, and the relationship could be circular.
On top of this, it is unclear what the mechanisms are that underlie these interactions.
It is clear that more research is needed to understand this relationship; in particular research that observes large groups of affected people for very long periods of time.