Effects of Music Interventions on Sleep in People With Dementia: A Systematic Review


Dementia (London)




Poor sleep health is a risk factor for and a common symptom of dementia. Music has been shown to improve sleep across a wide range of clinical and community populations. However, it is unclear whether and to what extent music interventions may also help alleviate sleep problems in people with dementia. This systematic review is the first review examining the effects of music on sleep outcomes among people with dementia. In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, we extracted 187 articles from nine databases (Academic Search Premier, Ageline, APA PsycArticles, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Embase, PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science). Eight studies were eligible for this systematic review (Range sample sizes: 1-59 people with dementia). Results revealed that assessments of sleep in the current literature were limited and mainly focused on sleep duration, subjective sleep quality, or nighttime sleep disturbances. Intervention delivery, music selection, and findings varied. Positive effects of music on sleep outcomes were observed in six out of the eight studies (75%), specifically there were decreases in nighttime sleep disturbances, increases in daytime alertness, and improvements in sleep quality. The remaining two studies found no statistically significant change in sleep outcomes (i.e., daytime sleepiness and quality). Study limitations included small sample sizes and the use of proxy reporters (e.g., caregiver, researcher, blinded clinician) which may reduce the accuracy of the sleep measures. Future research may want to incorporate objectively measured sleep to better understand the role of sleep in dementia care. More research is needed to determine whether music interventions are effective in improving sleep in people with dementia and whether improvements in sleep can slow the progression of dementia.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Music and Healing; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Sleep Quality; Sleep Wake Disorders

Indexed Terms

Dementia; Sleep; Sleep Wake Disorders; Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias; actigraphy; dementia; intervention; review

Study Type

Systematic Review; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type