Improving sleep and life quality for memory-impaired without medication

Using scheduled activities to help people with memory problems sleep better.


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A new study from University of Pennsylvania Nursing finds that a non-drug program boosts life quality and sleep for people with memory issues.

Nancy Hodgson, a nursing professor at Penn, led a team of researchers in a study with 209 pairs of individuals with memory issues and their caregivers. They tested Healthy Patterns Sleep, which involved one-hour sessions at home over four weeks. Another group received sleep hygiene training and education on home safety and health. The program taught caregivers to schedule daily activities like reminiscing, exercising, and sensory tasks to improve sleep quality.

“This study’s findings offer valuable insights into how timing activities can help with sleep problems. The Healthy Patterns program improved quality of life compared to the control group,” explained Hodgson.

The study found that the four-week Healthy Patterns program improved sleep quality for people with memory issues who had depression or poor sleep. However, more time might be needed to see improvements in other sleep-related activities.

The findings indicated that the Healthy Patterns Sleep Program significantly improved quality of life and sleep quality compared to the control group. Notably, individuals with memory problems who also experienced depressive symptoms or poor sleep quality showed the most significant improvement in sleep quality after participating in the program.

The study concludes that non-pharmacological interventions, such as the Healthy Patterns Sleep Program, have the potential to enhance quality of life and improve sleep quality for individuals with memory problems. However, further research may be needed to explore such interventions’ long-term effects and optimal duration.

Journal reference:

  1. Nancy A Hodgson, Miranda V McPhillips et al., Timed Activity to Minimize Sleep Disturbance in People With Cognitive Impairment. Innovation in Aging. DOI:10.1093/geroni/igad132.


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