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Find more clinical trials

Interventions for Circadian Rhythm Disorders in Dementia (Healthy Patterns Sleep Study)

Start: May 1, 2016
End: May 2021
Enrollment: 200

What Is This Study About?

Circadian rhythm disorders occur in most people with dementia. Symptoms include late afternoon/evening agitation (e.g., sundowning) and irregular sleep-wake rhythms such as daytime excessive sleepiness, frequent night waking, and poor sleep efficiency. This Phase 3 clinical trial will evaluate a one-month, eight-session program that provides training for caregivers on home-based activities to improve the sleep-wake patterns of dementia care recipients who live at home. The study involves in-home visits and telephone-based sessions from a trainer, and practice of each activity under the supervision of the trainer and then on their own. Some participants will be randomized to a control group and receive general education about circadian rhythm disorders. In both groups, the person with dementia will wear a bracelet that measures waking and sleeping time and will be evaluated for neuropsychiatric behaviors.

Do I Qualify To Participate in This Study?

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: 110 Years

Must have:

Care recipients:

  • Over age 60
  • English speaking
  • Able to tolerate a wristwatch for a month
  • Diagnosis of dementia
  • Symptoms of circadian rhythm disorders, as reported by caregiver
  • If taking any psychotropic medications (antidepressant, benzodiazepine, antipsychotic, or anticonvulsant) or an anti-dementia medication (memantine or cholinesterase inhibitor), on a stable dose for 90 days prior to enrollment


  • At least 18 years old
  • Living close to the care recipient and planning to stay in the area for at least six months
  • If taking a psychotropic medication, on a stable dose for at least 60 days

Must NOT have:

Care recipients:

  • In a crisis/unsafe situation
  • Planning to move to another residential or care setting within six months
  • At end-stage disease (e.g., bed-bound, noncommunicative, on hospice)
  • Currently enrolled in a clinical trial for dementia or associated symptoms
  • Prohibited medications when used regularly: medications with substantial known effects on the measurement of hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis activity (e.g., corticosteroids, interferons, beta-blockers, cytotoxic chemotherapy)
  • Major surgery in the past three months
  • History of major psychiatric and/or personality disorder
  • History of heavy cigarette smoking 
  • Loss of a loved one in the past three months
  • Conditions known to affect measurement of circadian rhythm, such as use of sedatives/hypnotics, Huntington's disease, Cushing's disease, Addison's disease, normal pressure hydrocephalus, Parkinson's disease, advanced heart failure, or morbid obesity

If I Qualify, Who Do I Contact?

Contact study personnel listed either under the general study contact or the location nearest you.


Need Help?

Contact NIA’s Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center at 800-438-4380 or email ADEAR.

Where Is This Study Located?

Who Sponsors This Study?

Lead: University of Pennsylvania

Source: ID: NCT03682185

An official website of the U.S. government, managed by the National Institutes on Aging at the National Institutes of Health