Could a sleep intervention improve quality of life for both individuals with dementia and their caregivers?
Glenna Brewster, Ph.D.
Atlanta, GA - United States
More than 50% of individuals with dementia are thought to experience sleep problems that precede cognitive impairment by several years. Lack of sleep impacts the quality of life for both the caregiver and the individual with dementia.
Healthy sleep has been shown to improve mood and brain health. Mental health interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBTi) is known to be the most effective long-term intervention for insomnia in cognitively unimpaired older adults. The CBTi method includes maintaining a sleep diary, sleep relaxation techniques, among others. Dr. Glenna Brewster proposes to investigate whether a CBTi intervention is feasible, acceptable, and effective as a treatment for sleep disorders in individuals with dementia and their caregivers.
Dr. Glenna Brewster has designed a four-week cognitive behavioral therapy intervention to treat sleep disturbances in people living with dementia and their caregivers. Dr. Brewster’s team will enroll forty pairs of individuals with dementia and their caregivers and assign participants to either face-to-face or videoconferencing sessions. The pair will participate in each session as a unit.
Dr. Brewster’s team will measure participants’ sleep patterns in detail over the course of the study. They will collect measurements before the intervention, one week after the intervention, and three months after the intervention. They will ask each pair of participants about their sleep efficiency, including how long it takes to fall asleep, how often they are awake during the night, and perceived sleep quality. The participants will also wear a small sensor that records periods of activity and rest. The researchers will determine if the intervention helps people living with dementia and their caregivers to work together to promote healthy sleep habits.
This study represents an important step toward developing a home-based, scalable intervention to address sleep disturbances in individuals with dementia and their caregivers. If successful, the intervention could improve quality of life for individuals with dementia and their caregivers.
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