In research that chimes with this week's Dementia Action Week (16-22 May), Dr Balouch found that not only does how well people with dementia sleep affect their symptoms the following day, but that sleep continuity was of particular significance – referring to the extent to which they can stay asleep after initially dozing off.
Dr Sara Balouch began the study while she was Dementia Research Fellow in the Centre for Dementia Studies at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Brighton, University of Surrey and University of Sussex.
The research was supported by the Centre for Dementia Studies at BSMS, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the UK-Dementia Research Institute. Findings were published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.
Now a Senior Lecturer in the University of Brighton's School of Humanities and Social Science, Dr Balouch said: “Our research shows that night-to-night variations in sleep predict day-to-day variations in symptoms of dementia, more so than in people without cognitive impairment. We found that increased sleep continuity was related to feeling more alert, fewer everyday memory errors and fewer carer reported memory and behavioural problems.