Sleep Disturbances in Frontotemporal Dementia

  • Stuart J. McCarterEmail author
  • Erik K. St. Louis
  • Bradley F. Boeve
Sleep (M Thorpy and M Billiard, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sleep


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.


Frontotemporal dementia Frontotemporal lobar degeneration Sleep Dementia Primary progressive aphasia 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Stuart J. McCarter declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Erik K. St. Louis has received personal fees from Inspire, Inc.

Bradley F. Boeve has received personal fees from Scientific Advisory Board—Tau Consortium and Isis Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Boeve has also received grants from GE Healthcare, the NIH, Mangurian Foundation, Cephalon, Inc., FORUM Pharmaceuticals, and C2N Diagnostics.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance, •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart J. McCarter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erik K. St. Louis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bradley F. Boeve
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Mayo Center for Sleep MedicineMayo Clinic and FoundationRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineMayo Clinic and FoundationRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyMayo Clinic and FoundationRochesterUSA

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