Bedtime Music for Sleep Problems in Older Adults With Dementia: A Feasibility Study


Music and Medicine




Sleep problems are highly prevalent in elderly persons with dementia. Poor sleep constitutes a major problem as it causes distress and may aggravate symptoms of dementia. Music has been proposed as a potential sleep aid, and in this study, we assessed the feasibility and effect of bedtime music listening for improving sleep problems in older adults with dementia. We used a within-subject design including 40 participants. Participants and caregivers evaluated the feasibility and sleep improvement after the intervention period. We measured sleep objectively with wrist actigraphy (total sleep time and sleep efficiency). In the intervention period, participants listened to music for 30 minutes every night at bedtime. We developed sleep playlists of different genres, and participants could choose the one they liked the best. We found that the music intervention was well-liked, and sleep improvement was observed in approximately half of the participants. Wrist actigraphy showed no significant changes in total sleep time or sleep efficiency. Music listening at bedtime could provide a safe, comfortable and low-cost intervention for sleep problems among elderly persons with dementia, the intervention is feasible, but more research is needed to determine the effect on sleep outcomes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Distress; Elderly; Music Listening; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Sleep Quality; Sleep Wake Disorders

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Sleep; Insomnia; Receptive music therapy; Geriatric Patients; Sleep Wake Disorders; Intervention; Sleep Wake Cycle; Actigraphy; Older Adulthood

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type