Tailored music listening intervention to reduce sleep disturbances in older adults with dementia: Research protocol

Darina V. Petrovsky, Nalaka S. Gooneratne, Joke Bradt, Laura N. Gitlin, Nancy A. Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sleep disruption in older adults living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) is debilitating and contributes to increased institutionalization, reduced cognitive function, and accelerated disease progression. Furthermore, sleep disruption is linked to poor health outcomes in caregivers, such as decreased quality of life and increased caregiver burden. Given the potentially harmful side effects of pharmacologic treatment, nonpharmacologic approaches, such as music, may provide a safer alternative to reducing sleep disruption in this vulnerable population. A growing body of literature suggests that calming tailored music may improve sleep quality in older adults with memory loss, but its efficacy has not been demonstrated in older adults with ADRD in the community, where most older adults with ADRD live. If shown to be feasible and acceptable, tailored music interventions can then be tested for efficacy in reducing sleep disruption. This protocol details a wait-list randomized controlled trial (NCT04157244), the purpose of which is to test the feasibility, acceptability, and examine the preliminary efficacy of a tailored music listening intervention in older adults with ADRD who report sleep disruption. Music selections will be tailored to the music genre preferences of older adults with ADRD and account for known sleep-inducing properties. The feasibility of processes that is key to the success of the subsequent study will be examined. Preliminary efficacy of the intervention will be assessed using objective (actigraphy) and subjective (proxy-reported) sleep quality measures. In addition, qualitative data will be solicited, examining the acceptability and satisfaction with the intervention by individuals with ADRD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-567
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • dementia
  • music
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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