Sleep Disturbances in Frontotemporal Dementia

Stuart J. McCarter, Erik K. St. Louis, Bradley F. Boeve

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Sleep disorders appear to be frequent comorbidities in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness commonly occur in patients with FTD and significantly contribute to caregiver burden and burnout. Sleep is severely fragmented in FTD patients, likely secondary to behavioral disturbances, other primary sleep disorders such as sleep disordered breathing and restless leg syndrome, and neurodegeneration of nuclei involved in sleep and wakefulness. Treatment of primary sleep disorders may improve excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep quality and may improve daytime cognitive functioning. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder is rare in FTD and may be confused with excessive nocturnal activity due to disturbed circadian rhythm. The relationship between FTD, sleep quality, and sleep disorders requires further study to better understand the contribution of disturbed sleep to daytime neurocognitive functioning and quality of life in FTD. Further, future studies should focus on comparing sleep disturbances between different FTD syndromes, especially behavioral variant FTD and primary progressive aphasia. Comorbid sleep disorders should be promptly sought and treated in patients with FTD to improve patient and caregiver quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Frontotemporal lobar degeneration
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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