Non-pharmacologic management of sleep disturbance in Alzheimer's disease

J Nutr Health Aging. 2010 Mar;14(3):203-6. doi: 10.1007/s12603-010-0050-9.


Sleep and wake in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are often fragmented as manifested by bouts of wakefulness at night and napping during the day. Management of sleep disturbances in AD is important because of their negative impact on both patients and caregivers. Pharmacological treatments, mainly sedative-hypnotics and antipsychotics, are often used but can be associated with significant adverse effects. Non-pharmacological treatments represent a beneficial alternative approach to the management of sleep disturbances in AD since they are associated with fewer adverse effects and their efficacy can be sustained after treatment has been completed. The aim of this article is to review non-pharmacological treatments, such as sleep hygiene, sleep restriction therapy (SRT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), light therapy, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), for the management of sleep/wake disturbances in AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use
  • Phototherapy
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Melatonin