Poor Bedfellows: Insomnia and Dementia

September 8, 2022 by

UVA Today, September 7, 2022, Christine Phelan

How might insomnia-fighting interventions delivered over the internet help slow older patients’ descent into dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease?

With a $1.22 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, University of Virginia assistant professor of nursing Meghan Mattos will investigate the connections between poor sleep, cognitive decline and the potential brain-saving power of digital health.

Between one-quarter and one-third of adults over age 65 suffer from insomnia, defined as a difficulty falling or maintaining sleep and impaired functioning during waking hours. Among patients with dementia, up to half suffer from it. If left untreated, Mattos said, insomnia may exacerbate cognitive decline, though it remains unclear whether bad sleep causes dementia or dementia causes bad sleep.

“What is known,” said Mattos, “is that a good night’s sleep is essential, restorative, healing. It allows us to function socially, think clearly, and be engaged.”  Read more…