Clinical Trials for Alzheimer’s Disease


Bluewater Clinical Research Group, Dr. Michael Roman and Dr. Elizabeth O’Mahony


There is a complex relationship between Alzheimer's disease and sleep disturbances. Both the quality and quantity of sleep can be affected in people with Alzheimer's. 

Sleep may be disturbed in up to 25% of people with mild to moderate dementia and 50% of people with severe dementia. As the dementia progresses, sleep disturbances also tend to get worse. 

People with Alzheimer's disease often experience changes in their sleep-wake cycle. This can include difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night, and increased daytime napping. Sundowning, is a phenomenon common in Alzheimer’s patients where they become more agitated or confused in the late afternoon or evening and it can affect their sleep. 

Non-medical ways to help improve sleep hygiene 

Establish a routine: maintain regular times for eating, waking up and going to bed.

Try to avoid stimulants like alcohol and caffeine, especially at night. Also, avoid TV during periods of wakefulness at night.

Encourage physical activity. Walks and other physical activities can help promote better sleep at night. 

Limit daytime sleep, and discourage afternoon napping 


If non medication approaches aren't working, your doctor might recommend sleep-inducing medications. 

However, these medications may increase the risk of falls and confusion in elderly patients who are cognitively impaired. As a result, these sedating sleep medications generally aren't recommended for this group. 

If these medications are prescribed, they will likely be for short-term use, and your doctor will recommend discontinuing them once a regular sleep pattern is established. 


To see the presentation provided by Bluewater Researchers Dr. John O'Mahony and Dr. Sean Peterson on Advances in Alzheimer’s Clinical Research please see the posting on Sept 27th on their Facebook page.