Symptoms of sleep disturbance in persons with Alzheimer's disease and normal elderly

Rochelle E. Tractenberg, Clifford M. Singer, Jeffrey A. Kaye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


We retrospectively analyzed sleep time and sleep disturbance symptoms in 399 healthy, non-demented elderly (NDE) and 263 persons with a diagnosis of possible (n = 53) or probable (n = 210) Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our primary objective was to determine differences in subjective sleep disturbance between these samples. Secondary objectives were to determine if subjects with time in bed (TIB) ≤6 h per night reported more sleep disturbance and whether sleep complaints were associated with more severe cognitive and/or functional impairment. The prevalence of 'sleep problems' (a single item) was significantly lower in NDE (18.3%) than AD (27.6%), and the proportions of each cohort reporting TIB ≤6 h per night were very low (NDE: 6.0%; AD: 3.5%) and not significantly different. Less TIB was correlated with better cognitive function for AD (P < 0.01), and cognition and function were significantly worse for AD subjects with estimates of > 6 h of TIB compared with those with estimates of ≤6 h (P < 0.05). Greater sleep disturbance was correlated with greater functional impairment in both cohorts; but only in AD did greater estimated TIB also correlate with greater functional impairment (all P < 0.05). In general, estimated TIB was not associated with mood in either cohort; however, in both cohorts depression was significantly associated with sleep disturbance symptoms and was significantly worse in those who reported having 'sleep problems'. There was no association between subjective perception of 'sleep problems', the number and frequency of sleep disturbance symptoms, and estimated TIB in either group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-185
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Healthy elderly
  • Measurement
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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