Sleep disturbance is a serious problem for many people in later life and particularly people with a diagnosis of dementia and those close to them. Research into mindfulness for sleep disturbance in older adults (without dementia) shows that it could be a helpful new treatment.

What are the main aims of the study?

The purpose of this research is to test a therapeutic treatment called “Mindfulness” in reducing problems with sleep and their symptoms specifically in people with a diagnosis of a dementia.

Mindfulness is inspired by the benefits of meditation, and involves sitting or lying quietly while paying attention to the senses. Mindfulness can take some practice before the benefits are felt. In this study we will give you clear training and a guided mindfulness exercise CD to help you learn the techniques.

What does it involve for a participant?BRAIN spark

You and a study partner will be asked to attend three face-to-face appointments in total, at a convenient place to you. Each appointment will last about an hour, and breaks can be incorporated into each appointment. Appointments will take place every week for 3 weeks.

At the first appointment the information sheet will be discussed, and if you are both in agreement, you will sign a consent form. In addition to your sleep, your mood, relevant history and memory will be assessed. All of this will help to determine whether the study is suitable for you.

To reduce the number of things that you need to do, your study partner will be asked to be responsible for completing a sleep diary every day for two weeks. The sleep diary involves answering some questions and will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. You will be asked to complete the diary for two weeks so that the study team can compare what your sleep was like over the week before and over the week during the Mindfulness intervention.

At the second appointment, you and your study partner will be given information that could make changes to your bedtime routine and environment, making it more conducive to sleep. You will also be trained in mindfulness techniques. The mindfulness exercise will be recorded onto a CD and given to you. You will be asked to listen to the exercise every night at bedtime.

One week after this, you will meet with the study team to discuss you and your study partner’s views about the mindfulness exercise and how it may be improved in future. This part of the appointment will be audio recorded in order to ensure that the study team have all of your feedback for later. The recordings will be stored on a secure, password-encrypted memory stick, before being uploaded to a secure server at the University of Surrey, and only those directly involved in the research will have access to them. The recordings will be transcribed anonymously by the researcher before being destroyed.

How long is the study for?

You and a study partner will be asked to attend three, one hour face-to-face appointments in total. Appointments will take place every week for 3 weeks.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

The hope is that the Mindfulness treatment will be a feasible, acceptable and effective treatment for sleep problems for people with dementia.

Where is the study based?

Guildford and London.

Who can take part?

To take part in this study, participants will need to be over the age of 55 with a diagnosis of dementia and experience some problems with their sleep (i.e. some difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or feeling sleepy in the daytime).

Participants will also need a study partner who agrees to co-participate, assisting the person with dementia throughout the study.

two-people-discussing-V02You can see if you are eligible for this study, as well as others around the nation, by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

Not registered with Join Dementia Research? Why not sign up today?