Research Projects

How does dementia with Lewy bodies affect sleeping patterns?

Awarded to:
Dr Greg Elder

Current award:

Northumbria University

6 September 2021 - 5 September 2023

Full project name:

Does non-rapid eye movement sleep differ in dementia with Lewy bodies? A home polysomnography study






Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the third most common type of dementia, affecting over 100,000 people in the UK.

Sleep problems frequently occur in people with DLB, but to date, most DLB studies assessed sleep have relied on people reporting sleep patterns themselves using methods such as questionnaires or sleep diaries. People may not recall or be aware of sleep problems they experience so these approaches can be unreliable.

The team led by Dr Greg Elder at Northumbria University will measure the sleep patterns of a person using a non-invasive, home-based portable technique called polysomnography. This method can measure the brain activity of a person sleeping in their usual home over several nights, instead of the conventional sleep laboratory for a single night.

The researchers will use this technique to measure specific sleep features that originate from regions of the brain that are affected by DLB. The team will investigate whether the sleep patterns are different in people with DLB, Alzheimer’s and those without any form of dementia.

They will also examine if these sleep features are associated with attention and memory performance in people with DLB. This will help determine whether it is possible to improve the symptoms of DLB by improving sleep.

This project aims to trial and improve this sleep measuring technique to further our understanding of an important, and sometimes overlooked, aspect of DLB . Being able to measure sleep reliably and accurately in people with dementia in their homes will likely be useful for future dementia research, diagnosis, and treatment.

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