Sleep disturbances are frequently seen among older adults with dementia, leading to significant distress for both patients and their caregivers. It is likely that neuronal loss in key areas of the brain contributes to sleep disturbances in this population. When evaluating older adults with dementia and insomnia, try to obtain information regarding all details of their sleep, and determine whether medical, psychiatric, or environmental factors may be contributors. In treating sleep disturbances in older adults with dementia, behavioural interventions should first be used to improve sleep hygiene. At the present time, there are not enough data to standardize recommendations for pharmacological treatment of insomnia in this population, so treatment should be guided by attempting to minimize potential side effects and interactions with other medications.
Key words: sleep, dementia, older adults, sleep hygiene, pharmacological treatment of insomnia.