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Care of the older person
Evidence that active pain treatment improves sleep quality and quantity in people with depression and dementia
  1. Amelia Swift
  1. Department of Nursing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amelia Swift, Department of Nursing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; A.Swift{at}

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Commentary on: Blytt KM, Bjorvatn B, Husebo B, et al. Effects of pain treatment on sleep in nursing home patients with dementia and depression: A multicenter placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2018;33:663–70.

Implications for research and practice

  • Active pain treatment improves sleep in people with dementia and depression.

  • This study paves the way for improved methods; these results should be used as the basis for further exploration of this important issue.

  • Future studies should include subjective evaluation of the benefits of pain treatment on sleep and explore improvements in related areas such as day-time functioning and falls.


It is recommended that we get approximately 8 hours of sleep per day, and poor-quality sleep causes decline in physical and psychological functioning including impacts on the metabolism, immunity and memory.1 People with dementia (PWD) often experience sleep …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.