Sleep in older adults with Alzheimer's disease can often be extremely fragmented, thus disturbing normal sleep-wake rhythms. This poor-quality sleep is challenging for caregivers and frequently results in admitting older adults to long-term care institutions. Many variables, such as genes, medications, depression, and environmental factors, influence sleep in persons with Alzheimer's disease. Interventions, such as exposure to light, melatonin therapy, sleep hygiene, and physical activity, are commonly used to treat or to prevent sleep problems. Neuroscience nurses can play an important role in assessing sleep characteristics and related factors, educating caregivers and staff, providing family members with emotional support, and conducting research.
Glenna A. Dowling, PhD RN FAAN, is a professor and chair at the Department of Physiological Nursing, a director at the Institute on Aging Research Center, and an associate director at the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Margaret I. Wallhagen, PhD GNP-BC AGSF FAAN, is a professor at the Department of Physiological Nursing and a director at the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
Kathryn A. Lee, RN PhD FAAN CBSM, is a professor, a James & Marjorie Livingston Chair in Nursing, and a director at the T32 Nurse Research Training in Symptom Management, Department of Family Health Care Nursing, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, CA.
William J. Strawbridge, PhD, is an adjunct professor at the Institute for Health and Aging, San Francisco, CA.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Yeonsu Song, RN PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a research consultant at San Francisco Coordinating Center, California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco, CA.