Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

INTRODUCTION: Many people living with dementia experience sleep disturbance and there are no known effective treatments. Non-pharmacological treatment options should be the first-line sleep management. For family carers, relatives' sleep disturbance leads to interruption of their sleep, low mood and breakdown of care. Our team developed and delivered DREAMS START (Dementia RElAted Manual for Sleep; STrAtegies for RelaTives), a multimodal non-pharmacological intervention, showing it to be feasible and acceptable. The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to establish whether DREAMS START is clinically cost-effective in reducing sleep disturbances in people living with dementia living at home compared with usual care. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will recruit 370 participant dyads (people living with dementia and family carers) from memory services, community mental health teams and the Join Dementia Research Website in England. Those meeting inclusion criteria will be randomised (1:1) either to DREAMS START or to usual treatment. DREAMS START is a six-session (1 hour/session), manualised intervention delivered every 1-2 weeks by supervised, non-clinically trained graduates. Outcomes will be collected at baseline, 4 months and 8 months with the primary outcome being the Sleep Disorders Inventory score at 8 months. Secondary outcomes for the person with dementia (all proxy) include quality of life, daytime sleepiness, neuropsychiatric symptoms and cost-effectiveness. Secondary outcomes for the family carer include quality of life, sleep disturbance, mood, burden and service use and caring/work activity. Analyses will be intention-to-treat and we will conduct a process evaluation. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: London-Camden & Kings Cross Ethics Committee (20/LO/0894) approved the study. We will disseminate our findings in high-impact peer-reviewed journals and at national and international conferences. This research has the potential to improve sleep and quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers, in a feasible and scalable intervention. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN13072268.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





Clinical Trial, Dementia, Health Services for the Aged