Buying time: a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial to improve sleep quality and cognitive function among older adults with mild cognitive impairment Falck, Ryan S; Davis, Jennifer C; Best, John R; Li, Linda C.; Chan, Patrick C Y; Wyrough, Anne B; Landry, Glenn J; Liu-Ambrose, Teresa
Background: Current evidence suggests that good quality sleep is associated with preserved cognitive function and reduced dementia risk in older adults. Sleep complaints are especially common among older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and this may contribute to their increased risk for progression to dementia. Thus, improving their sleep may be important for maintaining their cognitive health. Chronotherapy is a set of intervention strategies that can improve sleep quality through strengthening the entrainment of the biological clock to the solar light-dark cycle, and includes strategies such as (1) bright light therapy (BLT); (2) physical activity (PA); and (3) good sleep hygiene. Of these strategies, BLT is the most potent and is based on providing individualized timing to entrain circadian rhythms. Thus, a personalized chronotherapy intervention of individually timed BLT and individually tailored PA promotion, in conjunction with general sleep hygiene education may promote older adult sleep quality. We therefore aim to carry out a proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial (RCT) to examine the efficacy of such a personalized chronotherapy intervention to improve sleep quality among older adults with MCI. Methods/design: This was a 24-week RCT of a personalized chronotherapy intervention aimed to primarily improve sleep quality as measured by the MotionWatch8©. Participants in the personalized chronotherapy group (INT) will receive four once-weekly, general sleep hygiene education classes, followed by 20 weeks of (1) individually timed BLT and (2) bi-weekly, individually tailored PA counseling phone calls in conjunction with receiving a consumer-available PA tracker—the Fitbit® Flex™. Ninety-six adults (aged 65–85 years) classified as having MCI (i.e., Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) ≥ 24; Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) ≤ 26; without dementia or significant functional impairment) will be randomized to either INT or a waitlist control group (CON). Discussion: The results of this trial will help determine if a personalized chronotherapy intervention that includes individually timed BLT and individually tailored PA promotion, along with general sleep hygiene education can promote sleep quality among older adults at increased risk for dementia. Our results will help inform best practices for promoting sleep quality among older adults with MCI. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT02926157 . Registered on 6 October 2016.
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